News / Asia

Kim Jong Il's Son Given Senior Communist Party Posts, Military Commission

South Koreans watch a TV news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, 28 Sep 2010
South Koreans watch a TV news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, 28 Sep 2010

The youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been given senior posts in the ruling communist party and commissioned a four-star general in Pyongyang's armed forces.

North Korea's state-run news agency (KCNA) announced Wednesday that Kim Jong Un was named to the central committee of North Korea's Workers' Party.  He also was appointed vice chairman of the party's powerful central military commission, which his father heads.

North Korean television for the first time on Tuesday mentioned the youngest son of top leader Kim Jong Il.

An announcer read Supreme Commander's Order Number 51, signed by the elder Kim, in which his son, Kim Jong Un, is among those named a military general.

Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East West Center in Hawaii, said "It's maybe a step toward what we expect to see happening in the next few months, that is the preparation of third son, Jong Un, for paramount leadership. But what many outside analysts expect is that he won't be the real power. He'll be something of a front man, the direct connection to the royal line."

Related video report by Robert Raffaele:

The ruling Workers' Party Tuesday opened its first conference since 1980 in Pyongyang, and reappointed Kim Jong Il the party leader.

Some North Korea experts expect the son to be given a senior post at the party meeting.

Little is known about Kim Jong Un. He is believed to be in his late 20's and may have studied in Switzerland under a different name. His grandfather, Kim Il Sung, was North Korea's first leader, followed by Kim Jong Il, now 68 and apparently in declining health.

The announcement of his appointment as a general did not mention he is Kim Jong Il's son. Also named as an army general: Kim Jong Il's elder sister, Kim Kyong Hui.

Long-time North Korea watcher Roy at the East West Center expects little from the Workers' Party meeting.

"If Kim Jong Un wasn't substantially advanced toward the goal of being a paramount leader that would be a surprise. Of course any major shift of policy would be a dramatic surprise. Any indication that North Korea is willing to deal forthright with the Cheonan incident would be a great surprise. Unfortunately I don't expect any of these things to happen," said Roy.

The Cheonan, a South Korean naval ship, exploded and sank in the Yellow Sea six months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang denies any involvement.

Seoul demanded an apology from the North before relations can improve.

Professor Lee Woo Young, of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, says there is a possibility Pyongyang this week could indirectly signal a desire to improve relations.

Lee says if someone known for having a softer line on North-South relations gets chosen for a high-level party post, that in itself could improve ties. And, he says, it could also be seen as a gesture toward improving relations between Pyongyang and Washington.  

North Korea and its main ally, China, have been pushing for a resumption of six-nation talks about ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs. North Korea left the talks last year.

U.S. officials recently have said they want to see North Korea take steps showing its sincerity about making progress in the six-nation talks. Besides the U.S. and the two Koreas, the other partners are China, Japan and Russia.

As the party delegates opened their meeting in the North Korean capital, Korean War veterans marched through downtown Seoul as South Korean fighter jets flew in formation overhead. Seoul on Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of the re-capture of the city from North Korean invaders during their war in the early 1950s.

Watch Steve Herman's slideshow:



You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid