US eyes enhancing info gathering on N Korea`s leadership change

The US government is planning to step up efforts to gather information about North Korea`s moves toward a leadership change.

Washington: The US government is planning
to step up efforts to gather information about North Korea`s
moves toward a leadership change, as information is scarce
about the country`s leader Kim Jong Il`s third son,
Jong Un, who has reportedly been given key party posts.

Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East
Asian and Pacific Affairs, at a forum yesterday in Washington
said the US government knows little about Kim Jong Un.

According to North Korea`s official media, Kim Jong Un
was elected as a Central Committee member and named vice
chairman of the Central Military Commission -- a newly created
post -- at yesterday`s conference of delegates of the North`s
ruling Worker`s Party of Korea, reinforcing the view that he
is on track to succeed his father.

Campbell, the key US diplomat taking charge of US policy
toward the East Asian region, noted that Washington does not
know Jong Un`s precise age nor possess a recent photograph of
him, saying the US government has only a photo believed to
have been taken when he was attending high school abroad.

Meanwhile, the ongoing process of transferring power in
North Korea does not appear to have affected Washington`s
stance of aiming to denuclearize the country through the
six-party negotiation framework.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently said
that, regardless of who is in power, it is most important to
persuade Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapon development, as
it would benefit the future of the country.

PTI

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