Who Will Succeed Kim Jong-il

The sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il triggered speculation over whether his heir-apparent son, Kim Jong-un, will take over the country as planned.

Kim Jong-un has been groomed as the leader-in-waiting since last year when he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party and a four-star general.

Kim is expected to try to strengthen his political base by displaying his allegiance toward his late father in coming years as his late father did for the country’s founder Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.

Kim was named as chair of the North’s commission for his late father’s funeral, which is set for Dec. 28, according to the North’s state media.

Still, it was not immediately clear whether the untested leader-in-waiting, in his late 20s, will be able to lead the country.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said last month that there are unfavorable conditions for the power succession.

Kim Jong-un is likely to have to rely on Jang Song-thaek, late Kim’s brother-in-law and vice chairman of the North’s powerful National Defense Commission, as the North’s young leader builds his political base in coming years.

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