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Asia-pacific

North Korea's heir apparent Kim Jon-un makes rare public appearance with father

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Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-09

North Korea's ailing leader Kim Jung Il made a public appearance on Saturday with his son and likely successor, during the second day of celebrations to mark the ruling Worker's Party anniversary celebrations.

Reuters - North Korea’s leader-in-waiting, the youngest son of ailing ruler Kim Jong-il, made a high-profile appearance at a gala anniversary celebration in Pyongyang on Saturday, television footage showed.

 
Video aired by CNN television showed Kim Jong-un seated between two military leaders alongside his father in the May Day Stadium, watching a pageant of music and dancing to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
 
Japan’s Kyodo news agency said one of those sitting next to him was Zhou Yongkang, China’s domestic security chief.
 
State news agency KCNA also named Kim Jong-un as one of the leaders who attended a “national meeting” on Saturday to mark the anniversary, and said he later paid homage to the memory of North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il-sung, at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
 
Saturday’s gala was Kim Jong-un’s highest-profile public appearance since he was appointed to senior political and military posts late last month. Last Tuesday KCNA reported that he had attended army training drills.
 
A military parade will be held in Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the anniversary, and Kim Jong-un’s attendance at that event would further increase his standing as the country’s leader-in-waiting.
 
His father, Kim Jong-il, 68, is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008. But he has shown no sign of losing his grip on power and was reappointed last month as secretary-general of the Workers’ Party.
 
A stable succession would be a relief to North Korea’s economically powerful neighbours - China, South Korea and Japan - which worry that regime collapse could result in massive refugee flows and possibly descend into civil war.
 
The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Zhou Yongkang had arrived in Pyongyang on Saturday for a three-day visit, and signed economic and technology cooperation agreements, details of which Xinhua did not include, and praised the relationship between the two countries.
 
“We believe that under the strong leadership of General Secretary Kim Jong-il, the new leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea will surely lead the (North Korean) people to ... make new achievements in the course of building a strong country,” Xinhua quoted Zhou as saying.
 
Xinhua made no mention of Kim Jong-un.
 

Date created : 2010-10-09

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