North Korea's Succession

North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Il has died of a heart attack at the age of 69, the reclusive nation's state media announced Monday. His death has sparked fear and speculation about the fate of the nuclear armed nation. Kim Jong Il's son, Kim Jong Un, has been named by state media as the official heir. Whether Kim Jong Un can maintain his new position remains to be seen.

Heir Apparent

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

The third and youngest son of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un has been viewed as heir to the leadership of the nation since 2010. He was announced as the "Great Successor" by North Korean state television after Kim Jong Il's death. However, unlike his father, who was groomed for the role by his own father, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un does not have his own cult of personality. And he may start provocations against South Korea as a way to gain support from the military and cement his new position.

Power Brokers

Jang Song Thaek

Jang Song Thaek

As the brother-in-law of Kim Jong Il, Jang Song Thaek is a prominent figure in the North Korean government. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission, and is considered the second most powerful man in North Korea. During this succession, many believe, he will assume de-facto control over the country.

Ri Yong Ho

Ri Yong Ho

Vice marshal and chief of the Korean People's Army general staff. He is also a Politburo Presidium member and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. He is said to have been close to Kim Jong Il while retaining strong ties with Jang Song Thaek. He has been seen frequently on public occasions together with Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. Given his proximity to top leaders and key position in the Workers Party, he is believed to be a leading supporter and protector of the "Great Successor" Kim Jong Un.

News

Commentaries

Videos

Tough Challenges For Young Kim

Tough Challenges For Young Kim
Dec. 20, 2011
North Korea expert Greg Scarlatoiu assesses the prospects for the nation's new leader, Kim Jong Un.

The Military Holds the Key

The Military Holds The Key
Dec. 19, 2011
RFA Korean Service director Max Kwak discusses North Korea's power transition following the death of leader Kim Jong Il.

Heir-Apparent's Hair A Hit<

Heir-Apparent's Hair A Hit
Dec. 14, 2011
North Korean media say Kim Jong-un's hairstyle is fashionable among men in the nation's capital, Pyongyang.

Heir Apparent Groomed for Power

Heir Apparent Groomed for Power
Dec.07, 2011
A North Korea expert discusses the leadership transition in Asia's most reclusive nation.

Young General Reviews Troops

Young General Reviews Troops
Oct.11, 2011
Kim Jong Un seeks backing from North Korea's powerful military.

Brilliant Comrade Steps Out

Brilliant Comrade Steps Out
Sept.30, 2011
North Korea has released the first images of its leader in waiting.

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