N. Korea leader names son new spy chief

Last summer, when Kim Jong Il – the leader of the communist state of North Korea – had a stroke, speculation ran wild about who would take the reins of the country if Kim were to die without naming a successor.

Kim recovered, and it looks like he’s got big plans for his 3rd son, Kim Jong Un (26), whom he’s just appointed head of North Korea’s spy agency – the State Security Department.

Kim Jong IlAccording to an undisclosed source, Kim has told those currently in charge of the agency that they must “uphold” Jong Un’s leadership of the department. He has also asked that they “safeguard comrade Kim Jong Un with [their] lives as [they] did for [him] in the past.”

Of course, a few gifts (five foreign-made cars each worth about $80,000 to be specific) were dispensed in order to make the transition of power go smoothly.

North Korea’s State Security Department is basically the org responsible for putting the money where Kim’s mouth is. The spy agency watches very closely what other government agencies, the military and the hoi polloi are up to. They’re specially trained to sniff out even the most subtle sign of dissent to Kim’s totalitarian rule. The agency also undertakes spy missions abroad.

The remarks that Kim made to his spy chiefs he also repeated at a college that prepares its students for a career of spying.

The reporting paper – Dong-a Ilbo, a mass-market daily – speculates that Kim’s careful grooming of his son in this manner suggests that he’s a little concerned about the reaction he’s going to elicit when he (assuming he does) declares his son successor.

It seems that Jong Un was the official overseeing the detention, trail and subsequent sentencing of the two American journalists who at this point are still scheduled to serve 12 years of hard labor in a North Korea prison.

Kim Jong Il’s rule over North Korea was inherited when his father, the founding leader of the communist regime, died in 1994. It seems inevitable that Kim will soon formally announce another father-son succession.

images courtesy of tchan4.com and usinkorea.org

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