Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Kim's son probable successor in North Korea


North Korea's media has for the first time raised the issue of a possible hereditary transfer of power from dictator Kim Jong-il to one of his sons, South Korean media reported yesterday.

Kim, who turns 63 next month, inherited power from his father Kim Il-sung in 1994 as North Korea established the world's first communist dynasty.

Kim was anointed by his father when the elder Kim was 62. Kim Jong-il is now believed to be ready to anoint one of his own three sons, none of whom was mentioned by name in the North Korean radio report.

South Korea's JoongAng Daily said talk of the succession was aired publicly in North Korea for the first time on state radio on Thursday in a commentary.

"Our founder Kim Il-sung, when he was alive, emphasized that if he falls short of completing the revolution, it will be continued by his son and grandson," the newspaper quoted the commentary as saying, noting that the term grandson referred to one of Kim Jong-il's heirs apparent.

Yonhap news agency also reported the commentary which quoted the words of Kim Jong-il in the context of passing on power to a new generation.

"A couple years ago, our dear leader Kim Jong-il told workers, `I will keep the will of my father ...'" the newspaper quoted the commentary as saying.

"This is a philosophy that revolution should be completed even if it takes place in the next generation ... If our tradition is great, then the inheritance of it should be great as well," he was quoted as saying.

Kim's eldest son Kim Jong-nam, 33, is in contention to inherit power though he may be losing out in a power struggle, according to experts.

His two rivals for the succession are Kim Jong-chul, 23, and Kim Jong-woon, 21. They are sons of Ko Yong-hui, a former actress who died last year.

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