September 10, 2010 12:45
North Korea is celebrating the anniversary of its founding as speculation grows that Kim Jong Il's youngest son will be named heir apparent.
The official Korean Central News Agency says government officials, soldiers and members of the official Workers' Party gathered at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where the embalmed body of Kim Il-sung, who founded North Korea in 1948, lies in state. Kim Jong-il became leader after his father died in 1994.
Reports have surfaced that delegates to the Workers' Party are traveling to Pyongyang for a major conference to be held this month. It is believed Kim Jong-il will use the meeting to anoint his third and youngest son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor.
A group of defectors based in South Korea say the meeting has been delayed because of recent flooding in the North. But Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based station specializing in North Korean affairs, says the delay is due to Kim Jong-il's health. The 68-year-old leader is believed to have suffered a stroke 2008.
Kim Jong-il made a rare trip to China last month in what analysts say was an effort to win support for his son's eventual ascension.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com