Kim Jong Un shown as taking control

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- North Korean authorities are making every effort to depict Kim Jong Un, son of the departed leader Kim Jon Il, as the undisputed new leader, analysts said.

Little was known about the younger Kim until he took the spotlight after the death of his father Saturday.


In the latest indication Kim Jong Un will be the unchallenged new leader, North Korean television showed senior military leaders saluting him as he received mourners at the mausoleum, where his father lay in state, The New York Times reported.

There have been questions whether the young Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, would be able to win the full allegiance of the country's powerful 1.2-million strong military.

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South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a source as saying the country's intelligence service informed the National Assembly that on Kim Jong Un's orders, North Korean troops were ordered to cancel their field exercises and return to their barracks.

The source said the order, issued before the announcement of the elder Kim's death, indicated the son was in control of the military. The young Kim, however, has yet to take over as general secretary of the Workers' Party and chairman of the National Defense Commission, two powerful posts held by his father.


Analysts told the Times the effort to establish Kim Jong Un's leadership amid the grieving over his father also points to the son's vulnerability. The Times said if Kim Jong Un is unable to consolidate power, he may become the figurehead of a collective leadership.

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In that scenario, the power brokers would be the military as well as his 65-year-old uncle, Jang Song Taek, who was also a brother-in-law of Kim Jon Il.

The Los Angeles Times said North Korean defectors in South Korea think much of the outpouring of grief reported in the state media over Kim's death is not authentic. Unlike when Kim Il Sung died in 1994, this time around the grieving will be more faking and perhaps some well-concealed smiles, they said.

They told the LA Times Kim Il Sung was by most accounts genuinely beloved, but Kim Jong Il is seen as being responsible for years of famine and hardship in the country.

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"There aren't the same tears for Kim Jong Il after all the deaths and all the refugees," said Yoo Sang Jun, whose wife and son were among an estimated 2 million North Koreans who have died of hunger, the report said.


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