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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs