North Korea’s heir apparent introduced to the world

NORTH Korea introduced its heir apparent to the world yesterday, a chubby- faced young man with a serious expression, combed back hair cut high and tight on the sides and wearing a communist-style black suit.

State media published the first official images of Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-il who appears destined to inherit control of the impoverished, nuclear-armed state.

North Korean television broadcast video of a meeting of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party held on Tuesday, including images of Kim Jong-un, who was positioned in the front row during a speech and shown standing and vigorously clapping with other delegates.

North Korean authorities confirmed to TV news agency APTN in Pyongyang that the man shown in the footage is Kim Jong-un.

A photo of senior Workers’ Party officials also appeared yesterday on the front page of the authoritarian regime’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, two days after the party concluded its biggest political gathering in 30 years to elect new leaders.

An article listed the names of those in the picture, which was taken outside the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where the embalmed body of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung lies in state.

The still and video images confirmed what many analysts suspected for the past two years: that Kim Jong- un, believed to be in his 20s, has been anointed to succeed his father and carry the family’s rule into a third generation.

Cheong Seong-chang, an expert on North Korean politics at the Sejong Institute think tank near Seoul, said the photo signals a significant change in how the regime will be run.

“Now Kim Jong-un will manage all domestic affairs and Kim Jong-il will handle the bigger issues... and just provide guidance on the rest,” he said.

“From now on we’ll see and hear more and more about Kim Jong-un than we will about Kim Jong-il.”


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