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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More