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Kim Jong-il's Heir
Will the 'leadership' be handed down to Kim's sons or to trusted allies?
Beom-seok Sohn (gmitil10)     Print Article 
Published 2009-06-14 12:54 (KST)   
This article is lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>
In light of Kim Jong-il셲 deteriorating health, questions and speculations began to arise regarding his successor. I have attempted to analyze the possible candidates (ranging anywhere from his first son, Kim Jong-nam, to his brother-in-law, Chang Song-taek) in a previous article. Regardless, recent news articles and reports indicate that Kim Jong-il selected his third son, Kim Jong-un, to be his eventual heir. Although it may seem otherwise, this is not a surprising pick for various reasons.

So who exactly is Kim Jong-un, and why was he chosen to succeed Kim Jong-il?

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Believed to be around 25 years old, Jong-un was educated in Switzerland during his youth. Certain sources, including Kenji Fujimoto (Kim Jong-il셲 former chef), claim that Kim Jong-un is 쐃xactly like his father. Fujimoto is also quoted as explaining that 쏧f power is to be handed over then Jong-un is the best for it. Fujimoto went on to claim that Jong-un has "superb physical gifts", drinks heavily and "never admits defeat.

This is a direct contrast against the characteristics of Jong-un셲 two older brothers. It may make sense initially to assume that the oldest son would be the automatic heir to the North Korean throne. However, Kim Jong-nam, the oldest son, has reportedly fallen out of Kim Jong-il셲 favor after being caught trying to sneak into Japan to visit its brothels and the Tokyo Disneyland. This isn셳 helped by the fact that Kim Jong-nam has many political enemies within the North Korean government itself.

Then what about the second son, Kim Jong-chol? It is true that Jong-chol had continued to maintain substantial support from within the North Korean military and government. However, reports indicate that Kim Jong-il considers Jong-chol to be too 쐄eminine to effectively lead his regime.

Others had speculated that Kim Jong-il may choose someone who is not directly related to himself, like Chang Song-taek (Kim Jong-il셲 brother-in-law and reportedly one of his closest confidants) or Jo Myong-rok (Kim Jong-il셲 second-in-command in military matters). Yet it seems at this point that Kim Jong-il has decided to follow the precedence that his father had set in selecting one of his sons as his heir.
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Beom-seok Sohn

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