News / Asia

Possible North Korean Leadership Succession is in Place

Important moves have been made in North Korea ahead of the ruling party's biggest gathering in 30 years.  The youngest son of ruler Kim Jong Il has reportedly been named a general.

North Korea's official media say Kim Jong Un has been named a general, widely seen as a move to place him in line to succeed his father.  Observers have been speculating for the past few years about who might emerge as the next leader of the reclusive nation.  Katy Oh is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"It is one of the greatest dramas unfolding," said Katy Oh. "It is unprecedented in history because this is basically dynastic feudalism."

She says the younger Kim has been working in the influential Workers Party Bureau of Organization and Guidance.

"This is the bureau within the party that hires, fires, kills, promotes, demotes over every elite in the party system," she said. "The young Kim was working there.  But finally appointing him as a general, together with his aunt and uncle and also one of the uncle's confidants, basically they are creating the regency behind him because he is too young.  But he is now basically anointed the crown prince."

Many believe a powerful post also will go to Kim Jong Il's sister, Kim Kyong Hui, or her powerful husband, Jang Song Taek.  Either one might be trusted to hold power if anything happens to the ailing Kim Jong Il before his son is ready to take charge.  Kim Jong Un is only in his 20s.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, now Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, says that the next transfer of power in North Korea is a tricky step.

"To pass power onto a third generation is always more difficult than the second generation," said Christopher Hill. "And I think we have not seen signs that Kim Jong Un has been particularly groomed for a leadership the way his father was over the course of many years under Kim Il Sung."

Kim Jong Il is widely believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, and he appeared frail in photographs taken during meetings with foreign officials in the past few months.  

The Workers' Party has not had a full party congress since 1980, and the conference of delegates has not met since 1966.  Analysts expect the delegates will fill a number of vacant posts and name younger officials to replace some elderly members.

Next month, the party marks the 65th anniversary of its founding.  


Jim Stevenson

For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid