Three rival factions are jockeying for position behind the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Daily Telegraph said Tuesday. Kim Jong-un's "inexperience has opened the way for more practised operators to increase their influence," the British daily said.
According to the paper, the three factions are led by Jang Song-taek (65), Kim's uncle and vice chairman of the National Defense Commission; Kim Jong-nam (40), his half-brother; and Kim Sol-song (36), his half-sister.
"For someone who was meant to be all-powerful, this was hardly the kind of succession that Kim Jong-il would have wanted," the daily quoted Kerry Brown, head of the Asia programme at think tank Chatham House as saying.
At the moment, Jang is in the most advantageous position. "There was a 'consensus' that Jang could emerge as a regent figure, exercising significant power at least during the new leader's early period in office," Brown added.
Kim Sol-song, Kim Jong-il's eldest daughter who is not well known, is said to lead one of the rival factions. She was close to her father as his personal secretary and still holds an important position in the North's propaganda department, the daily said.
The dead leader's eldest son Kim Jong-nam is also expected to increase his influence even though he lives in virtual exile overseas. He fell out of favor in 2001 but tried to regain his father's trust little by little by calling in a doctor when his father had a stroke in 2008 and meeting foreign dignitaries on his father's behalf.