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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid