Kim Jong Il And Son Appear Together

(Source: AP) The son, Kim Jong-un, wearing a dark suit despite his recent promotion to four-star general, watched the festivities and reviewed squads of goose-stepping troops with his 68-year-old father and other senior politicians and generals. The event was held in Kim Il-sung Square, named for Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, the founder of the North Korean state. The elder Mr. Kim, who is said to be in poor health after apparently suffering a stroke in 2008, has hurried the succession of Kim Jong-un in recent weeks. At a landmark Workers’ Party meeting last month, Kim Jong-un was made a general and received two significant positions in the party. Other members of the Kim family and the leader’s inner circle also received new posts and promotions as the leadership hierarchy was reshuffled to provide Kim Jong-un with mentors and supporters as he solidifies his power. Little is known about Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be 27 or 28. He is the youngest of Mr. Kim’s three sons — the older brothers were uninterested or deemed incapable of leadership — and he attended school for a time in Bern, Switzerland. He is known to speak some English, and he likely speaks German as well. Until last month’s party meeting, very few pictures of him had been seen in public. The Workers’ Party anniversary is typically a major national holiday in North Korea, with citizens receiving food handouts from the government. The theme of the celebration Sunday was heavily military, befitting Kim Jong-il’s guiding philosophy of songun, or military first. Nuclear-armed North Korea has a huge standing army, with 1.2 million soldiers, and its border with South Korea is one of the world’s most heavily militarized. There was no immediate reaction from the South Korean government to Sunday’s parade in the North, but the conservative administration of President Lee Myung-bak has taken a hard line against North Korea, and relations between the two countries remain strained.