Kim Jong-un Consolidates Position as Party Bigwig Dies

      November 08, 2010 08:36

      The North Korean media on Sunday listed leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir Jong-un second after his father among members of a funeral committee for a senior apparatchik, suggesting that Kim junior has consolidated his position in the party hierarchy.

      The Kims topped a list of 171 members of the funeral committee for Jo Myong-rok, a member of the Politburo of the Workers Party and first vice chairman of the top policy-making National Defense Commission. Jo, who ranked fourth in the party hierarchy, died of a heart attack on Saturday aged 82.

      Left: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il pours wine during a visit to an artist's new home after touring the newly built national theater on the 65th anniversary of the Workers Party in October, in this grab from a documentary shown Sunday on [North] Korean Central TV; Right: Kim's third son and heir Jong-un /KCTV-Yonhap

      A South Korean security official speculated Kim Jong-un "seems to have risen to second place some 40 days since he was rated sixth" during a Sept. 28 party congress that marked his first public appearance, following his father, Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Supreme People's Assembly, premier Choe Yong-rim, Jo, and Ri Yong-ho, the chief of the Army general staff.

      A North Korean source said the heir apparent has probably already been promoted to the posts left vacant by Jo or will assume them as soon as the mourning period ends.

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