Kim Jong-Il Promotes Son to Apparent Next-in-Line

Leader makes sister, youngest son 4-star generals as party meets
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
Kim Jong-Il Promotes Son to Apparent Next-in-Line
North Korean schoolchildren march past a placard announcing the meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea.    (AP Photo/APTN)

North Korea-watchers say Kim Jong Il has sent his clearest signal yet that he intends for his youngest son to lead the country after his death. State media announced the promotion of Kim Jong Un to four-star general today as the country's biggest political summit in 30 years began, the BBC reports. Dear Leader also made his sister a general, a move observers say suggests he feels his Swiss-educated son, believed to be around 27, needs a mentor.

The younger Kim had never before been officially mentioned in North Korean state media. The promotion "is clearly the biggest news we've had from North Korea since the death of Kim Il Sung," a Council of Foreign Relations analyst tells the AP. "I think it clearly demonstrates that Kim Jong Il is committed to maintaining control of the country within his family."
(More Kim Jong Un stories.)

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