North Korean attack tied to succession: US

The US military`s top officer called Kim Jong-Il "a very unpredictable guy".

Washington: North Korea`s artillery attack on South Korea was likely related to Pyongyang`s succession plans for the regime`s leader-in-waiting, the US military`s top officer said on Wednesday.

"This is also tied, we think, to the succession of this young 27-year-old who`s going to take over at some point in the future," Admiral Mike Mullen said in an interview, referring to Kim Jong-Un, the youngest son of the current leader.

"It`s a worrisome leadership in North Korea," Mullen told ABC`s `The View`.

He called the authoritarian state`s leader, Kim Jong-Il, "a very unpredictable guy, a very dangerous guy”. South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik also pointed to the succession process in North Korea, telling Parliament on Wednesday the shelling was designed to bolster the position of the leader`s son and play up outside threats.

The North was trying "to brandish heir apparent Kim Jong-Un`s military prowess, strengthen internal unity and vent internal discontent toward the outside", the Premier told the National Assembly.

The United States has condemned the attack and vowed to stand behind its alliance with South Korea, but officials and military leaders have praised Seoul for showing "restraint" and made no threats of possible military action.