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Thursday, September 29, 2011     GET REAL

One year after debut, Kim Jong-Un's succession said to be on track despite reported opposition

By Lee Jong-Heon, special from

SEOUL — One year after making a public debut, Kim Jong-Un has managed to cement his status as the successor of his father and the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Il, raising the possibility that he would be formally anointed in April next year.


Kim Jong-Un and his father, Kim Jong-Il, watch a military parade in Pyongyang in October 2010.     Guardian/Dan Chung
North Korean watchers here said that despite reports of opposition from the old guard and objections that the younger Kim lacked any experience qualifying him for the position, most indicators show the succcession plan is on track.

Believed to be in his late 20s, the junior Kim was introduced to the people and mentioned for the first time in the country’s media on Sept. 27 last year when he was given the rank of a four-star general in the People’s Army.

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On the following day on Sept. 28, he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party and was ranked sixth during the party conference following Politburo Presidium members — Kim Jong-Il, Kim Yong-Nam, Choe Yong-Rim,Jo Myung-Rok and Ri Yong-Ho.

His first public appearance came days later on Oct. 10 when he reviewed, alongside his father, the country’s biggest-ever military parade to mark the Party’s founding anniversary. In an unprecedented move, the isolated country invited some 80 reporters from the international media to cover the military parade effectively used to herald to the world the rise of the prince.

A year later, on Sept. 9, the junior Kim again reviewed a military parade, flanked by his father, a rare military ceremony marking the birthday of the communist regime in Pyongyang. The North has rarely held such military parade on the founding anniversary of the regime.

“The military parade was arranged to show to the nation and the world that the power succession scheme is on the course,” a government official in Seoul said.

“Succession seems underway smoothly,” he said. Footage of the North’s Central TV showed aged leaders, such as 85-year-old Party Secretary Kim Ki-Nam, made a deep bow to Kim Jong-Un, the official noted.

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