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September 4, 2010

North Korea's heir apparent

POLITICS - Kim Jong Il, the Great Leader of North Korea, is dying and only North Korean doctors have any clue when the event might take place. In the meantime however Kim Jong Il is cementing the appointment of his youngest son to a key Workers Party position and making a big fuss about it within North Korean politics.

Like his father before him Kim Jong Il can trust no one else to take over after he dies. The family dynasty will live on, carrying the burden and privileges of leading a country with one of the worst economies (largely due to shortages and isolation) in the world. His youngest son Kim Jong-un has been toted as the likely successor ever since the oldest son was caught trying to sneak into Japan to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport.

The meeting to annoint his son in the prominent position will be the first major party gathering since the 1980 congress where Kim Jong Il was confirmed as the man who would take over from his father as dictator.

Kim Jong Il is currently 68 and after suffering a stroke in August 2008 and having a series of health problems in recent years isn't expected to live much longer. He is much thinner and has lost significant hair in the last 2 years, appearing to have aged suddenly and lost the chubbiness in his cheeks.

North Korea's 24 million people have been enduring a recent propaganda campaign promoting the succession of his son, everything from songs and poems praising the youngest son of the Kim family and even trying to use North Korea's soccer team at the South African World Cup in an effort to boost support for the young heir apparent.

In the biggest political gathering in 30 years North Korea's delegates from the ruling Workers Party will pledge loyalty to the young Kim Jong-un who is a mere 28 years old and soon to be in command of one of the largest armies in Asia (horribly equipped however) and an arsenal of nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile Kim Jong Il in August made his second trip to China in 2010 in an effort to win the endorsement of his closest ally for the power transfer, beg for more supplies and food and get needed medical treatment.

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