Clues from Kim Jong-il Funeral List

The North Korean regime on Monday issued a list of 232 people who make up the funeral committee for dead leader Kim Jong-il. Experts believe the order more or less matches their rank in the pecking order.

Kim's son and designated heir Jong-un is at the top of the list.

Kim Keun-sik, a North Korean expert at Kyungnam University, said, "The list is in the order of members of the standing committee of the Politburo, then members and candidate members. It shows that the party will be stronger power than the military," because Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Song-taek or O Kuk-ryol, the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, are listed further down."

One reason could be that Kim Jong-un is not yet a member of the commission, unlike his father, who ruled the country through it.

Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui and her husband Jang Song-taek are in 14th and 19th in the list, even though Jang was widely believed to be the eminence grise behind Kim Jong-il. Kim's exiled eldest son Jong-nam is not listed, nor are his middle son Jong-chol and virtually exiled half-brother Pyong-il, the perpetual North Korean Ambassador to Poland.

One expert on North Korea said, "It's natural for their names to be excluded from the funeral committee as it is mostly filled with people with official titles."

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 20, 2011 13:52 KST