Kim Jong Un coming out publicly as heir

Oct. 9, 2010 at 9:59 PM
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SEOUL, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The public process of sealing Kim Jong Un's status as heir to his father and grandfather as North Korea's leader is winding up, South Korean observers say.

The celebration of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party, to be held Sunday in Pyongyang, is expected to be the climax, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, called it "the crowning touch to the political schedules to formalize the power shift process."

Kim Jong Un and his father Kim Jong Il inspected a live-fire demonstration several days ago, the government news media said.

Newly installed as a four-star general, Kim Jong Un is to inspect a military parade for the first time Sunday. Intelligence experts say this year's parade in Kim Il Sung Square is expected to be of record size, with about 20,000 soldiers as well as missiles and other armaments.

Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994 at the age of 82, remains the official head of state. Kim Jong Il is 69 and believed to be in poor health.

Little is known about Kim Jong Un, the youngest of Kim Jong Il's three sons. He went to school in Switzerland briefly as a teenager and is believed to be in his late 20s.

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