Young Mystery General Spotted Trailing Kim Jong-il

      July 08, 2009 10:44

      South Korean intelligence services have spotted a young-looking one-star general walking behind North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in images taken during on-the-spot guidance tours this year, but it was unclear whether that was the elusive heir apparent Jong-un.

      An intelligence officer said, "In the process of closely scrutinizing photos and video images... we twice or three times spotted a young man in his mid- or late 20s in a one-star general's uniform escorting Kim, but it's unclear who he is because their definition is poor and the images are small."

      He added the young man "could be" Kim Jong-un, who is mentioned as the heir apparent, or a son of another senior official. But he added it was "most unlikely" that a mere bodyguard would wear a general's insignia.

      A senior government official said Kim junior is believed to be working at the Administrative Department of the National Defense Commission, North Korea's supreme power organ. "But we don't know whether he has any rank or position within the military."

      A North Korea expert said the Administrative Department seems to supervise four major agencies, the General Political Department of the People's Army, the Ministry of People's Armed Forces, the General Staff, and the Defense Security Command. "If the story about Kim Jong-un being the heir apparent is well-founded, he is apparently learning how to control and supervise the military under the military-first doctrine."

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