<font color="maroon" size=2><b>[Breaking News]</b></font><br>Kim Jong-il’s youngest son named general

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[Breaking News]
Kim Jong-il’s youngest son named general


Delegates arrive in Pyongyang for a major conference of the Workers’ Party on Sunday in this picture released by the North’s official KCNA news agency yesterday. The conference, which will be held today, is expected to elect the party’s highest leading body. [YONHAP]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Jong-un has been promoted to military general ahead of the long-awaited Workers’ Party convention to be held today. The report made by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency has shown this to be a clear sign that Kim Jong-il is pushing his son in line to become his successor.

In KCNA’s brief dispatch, which was released around 1 a.m. last night, it stated the son as well as five others had been named four-star generals in the Korea People’s Army, including Kim Jong-il’s sister, Kim Kyong-hui. Choe Ryong-hae, a long-time aide to the Kim dynasty, was also named a four-star general. Choe is said to be in close alliance with Jang Song-thaek, Kim Kyong-hui’s husband as well as the widely-seen No.2 in the communist state.

Kim Jong-un’s name had not been seen prior to today’s announcement in any official North Korean media.

Little is known about the Dear Leader’s youngest son, other than he has spent his younger years abroad in Switzerland to study and North Korean sources have said those inside the reclusive state refer to the son as the “Young General”. Whatever the case, the announcement looks to confirm heavy speculation that Kim Jong-il’s ailing health has placed him in a race against time to name his son as his heir.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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北, 김정은 후계 공식화‥끝내 `3대세습` 강행

북한 김정일 국방위원장이 20대 후반(1982년생 추정)에 불과한 셋째 아들 김정은에게 '인민군 대장 칭호'를 부여, 마침내 근.현대사상 최초의 '3대 권력세습' 구도를 공식화했다.

44년만에 소집된 노동당 대표자회에 맞춰 자신의 뒤를 이를 후계자가 김정은임을 대내외적으로 천명한 셈이다.

이로써 작년 1월 김정은을 후계자로 내정한지 1년9개월만에, 고 김일성 주석이 아들 김정일 위원장한테 넘겨줬던 세습권력을 손자 김정은이 다시 이어받는 초유의 권력승계 구도가 수면 위로 떠오르게 됐다.

이날 김정은이 '군 대장' 칭호를 받은 것은 후계구도 공식화의 신호탄으로 받아들여진다. 그가 28일 열릴 제3차 당대표자회에서 정치국 상무위원이나 위원, 비서국 비서 같은 고위직에 추가로 임명될 가능성이 더 높아진 것이다.

아울러 '최고 지도기관 선거'를 단일 안건으로 열리는 이번 당대표자회에서 김정은 후계 구도를 뒷받침할 인적 개편이 대대적으로 이뤄질 것이 확실시된다.

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