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Seoul Has to Watch Out During N.Korea's Power Transition


ErnstBlofeld
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ErnstBlofeld
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The Chosun Ilbo:

During N.Korea's Power Transition North Korea's official press on Thursday published the first photo of Kim Jong-un, the son and heir of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Taken just after the extraordinary congress of the Workers Party, the photo shows Kim Jong-un seated to the left of his father after Ri Yong-ho, chief of the Army's general staff, who is seated immediately to the left of Kim Jong-il. Both Kim Jong-un and Ri were appointed as vice chairmen of the party's powerful Central Military Commission.

Seated next to Kim Jong-un is Kim Yong-chun, the defense minister who also serves in the party's Politburo. Seated to the right of Kim senior are Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Premier Choe Yong-rim.

The photo must have made North Koreans acutely aware of the power that has been handed over to the 27-year-old Kim Jong-un.

On Wednesday, when North Korea announced the hereditary succession, it also reconfirmed it will bolster its nuclear weapons program. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon told the UN General Assembly, "As long as the U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers sail around the seas of our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned, but should be strengthened further."

Kim Jong-il first promoted Jong-un to four-star general and appointed him as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission in order to begin the process of succession. The North Korean leader intends to use the military, which is the country's most powerful group, as a bridge to secure the transfer of power. Now, the military will wield be even more powerful.

After judging that its conventional military weapons have become too outdated to fight against South Korea, the North started focusing its resources in bolstering so-called asymmetric warfare capabilities, by developing nuclear weapons, missiles and special forces. Kim Jong-il and his son have no choice but to follow the military's strategy. As a result, the prospect of scrapping North Korea's nuclear weapons has become implausible even if the six-party nuclear talks resume.

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