Searching For The Dear (Younger) Leader

As our colleague Mark McDonald reports, on Thursday the North Korean government released a photograph and video of Kim Jong-un, the son and presumed heir of the country’s ailing “dear leader,” Kim Jong-il. The Associated Press edited the official video to highlight the younger man in this footage, reportedly shot on Tuesday:Observers continue to speculate that the appearance of Kim Jong-un in the state media, and announcements that he had been named a general and given a senior position in the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, means that he may be in line to succeed his father. A report on the party conference from the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, included the leader’s son in a list of officials hailing his father’s appearance — referring to him as, “Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Military Commission.” As The Lede noted last year, a man believed to be Kim Jong-nam, the dear leader’s eldest son, gave two television interviews on the Chinese island of Macao. In both cases, he said that he had heard, from the media, that his brother might succeed his father, but was “not interested” in politics himself. Kim Jong-nam’s previous claim to fame was being caught trying to travel to Disneyland Tokyo on a fake Dominican passport. This video report from Britain’s Channel 4 News on Tuesday includes a handy family-tree of North Korea’s ruling family, and looks at the possibility that the powerful position of the dear leader’s sister and brother-in-law: