February 18, 2009 07:49
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has chosen his third son Jong-un as his heir apparent, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Tuesday. The Japanese daily quoted a North Korean official as saying the General Political Staff, the key organ of the People's Army, has been distributing a memorandum saying Jong-un (26) was chosen as the heir early last month. Such memoranda are normally used for ideological indoctrination of soldiers.
Kim Jong-un reportedly holds a senior Army post that would be equivalent to a deputy department chief in the Workers Party. Kim's second son Jong-chol (28) has meanwhile been assigned to a key post in the party, the daily said.
The Mainichi quoted a diplomatic source in Beijing as saying Kim Jong-un could be registered in a district in North Pyongan Province as a candidate for deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly, nominal elections for which are held on March 8. The aim is presumably to propel him to a more senior post because any North Korean official should be an SPA deputy, the source added.
But the source added, "It's possible that the military seized a PR initiative by distributing the memo. It's difficult to say with certainty at this moment whether Kim Jong-un has been chosen, because Jong-chol has also been assigned to an important post that is close to the succession." Jong-un was born to Ko Young-hee from Osaka, Japan, who reportedly died in 2004.
Unlike Kim's first son Jong-nam or Jong-chol, almost nothing is known about him. He reportedly studied at Kim Il Sung Military University until 2007, and resembles his father in looks and personality.
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