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North Korean heir`s uncle plays key role

Last Updated: Sunday, December 25, 2011 - 12:29

Pyongyang: North Korea on Sunday aired footage
showing the uncle and key patron of anointed heir Kim Jong Un
wearing a military uniform with a general`s insignia, a strong
sign he`ll play a crucial role in helping the young man take
over power and uphold the "military-first" policy initiated by
his late father, Kim Jong Il.

The footage on state television shows Jang Song Thaek in
uniform as he pays respects at Kim Jong Il`s body lying in
state at Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

Seoul`s Unification Ministry says it`s the first time
Jang, usually seen in business suits, has been shown wearing a
military uniform on state TV.

Little by little, North Korea is offering hints on the
details of Kim Jong Un`s rise and the future composition of
his inner circle as millions continue to mourn for his father,
who died one week ago.

North Korea has also begun hailing Kim Jong Un as
"supreme leader" of the 1.2-million strong military as it
ramps up its campaign to install him as ruler.

The new title, a public show of support from top military
leadership and the symbolic appearance of Jang in uniform send
a strong signal that the nation will maintain Kim Jong Il`s
"military first" policy for the time being.

South Korean intelligence has reportedly predicted Kim
Jong Un`s aunt Kim Kyong Hui, a key Workers` Party official,
and her husband Jang, who is a vice chairman of the powerful
National Defence Commission, will play larger roles supporting
the heir.

Jang and his wife have risen to the top of North Korea`s
political and military elite since the succession campaign
began two years ago.

Both 65, they also have the weight of seniority so
important in a society that places a premium on age and


First Published: Sunday, December 25, 2011 - 12:29
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