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Future North Korean power change analyzed

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- With little information known about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the possibility of a power transition raises concerns, a new report says.

The Council on Foreign Relations released a report Wednesday suggesting scenarios of the possibility when Kim is no longer in power.

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Despite Kim's meeting with Wang Jiarui, chief of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, reported Jan. 23, little is known of the North Korean leader's health, which has raised concerns from the international community over a strategically vital region.

The Council on Foreign Relations report, commissioned by the organization's Center for Preventive Action, suggests three scenarios that include a managed and successful power transition, a transition that is contested, and a failed power succession leading to the collapse of the country.

Officials say chief among the concerns in any power transition is North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons capabilities and the unclear future of the six-party talks. The report calls on Washington to "bolster its contingency planning and capabilities in cooperation with South Korea, Japan and others, and to build a dialogue with China that could address each side's concerns," the release said.

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