A top Chinese official has backed ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s plans to hand power to his youngest son, the North’s state media said yesterday, hailing the “successful solution” to allow continued dynastic rule.
Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu (孟建柱) congratulated Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un, on his appointment as vice chairman of the North Korean Central Military Commission last year, “hailing the successful solution of the issue of succession to the Korean revolution,” KCNA news agency reported.
Experts said the term “succession” did not refer directly to family rule, but was a commonly used expression referring to a continuation of the North’s current political system.
“[But] we can interpret that as a sign of acceptance on the part of China’s political and power elite with regards to North Korea’s succession,” said Park Young-ho, of the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.
Xinhua news agency quoted Meng, who is visiting North Korea this week, as praising the countries’ expanding economic ties and said their good bilateral relations contributed to regional peace and security.
Kim Jong-un was last year named as a four-star general and given high-ranking political positions, signaling the start of the third-generation power transition in the secretive state.
Until the younger Kim’s appointments, state media had never even reported the existence of Kim Jong-il’s children. Little is known about Kim Jong-un other than that he is in his late 20s and was educated in Switzerland.
Kim Jong-il visited China twice last year, trips analysts and officials say were mainly aimed at winning Beijing’s support for his hereditary succession process.