North Korean leader names son as successor: Report

January 15th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, Jan 15 (RIA Novosti) North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has tapped his third son to be his successor and sent his nomination to the leadership of the ruling party, according to reports Thursday.The ailing communist leader “delivered a directive around Jan 8 that he has named (Kim) Jong-un as his successor to the leadership of the Workers’ Party,” South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted a well-informed source as saying.

US and South Korean intelligence have reported that Kim, 67, suffered a stroke last summer and underwent surgery, raising speculation as to who would take over the isolated communist state, the subject of international concern over its nuclear programme.

Kim Jong-un, now 25, was born to Kim Jong-il’s third wife Ko Yong-hi, who died of breast cancer at the age of 51 in 2004. According to the report, the youngest of Kim’s three sons, Jong-un was educated at the International School of Berne and is a fan of NBA basketball.

According to the news agency, Jong-un’s nomination was completely unexpected in North Korea, even among the Worker’s Party leadership, and was most likely driven by Kim Jong-il’s rapidly deteriorating health.

North Korea has vehemently denied reports of Kim’s illness.

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