North Koreans watching the nightly news have a new name to revere in public; the first time any official mention has been made of the leader’s youngest son, and their presumed future supremo, just named general.
Kim Jong-Un was named along with five others to the military rank, one being leader Kim Jong-Il’s sister Kyong-hui. Analysts believe she and her husband Chang Song Taek, the vice chairman of the powerful National Defence Commission, will act as guardians for Kim Jong-Un.
The announcement shed little further light on the heir apparent, whose identity and even existence has been the one of the secretive regime’s closest-guarded secrets, and little is known about him.
Kim Jong Il, 68, is visibly ailing, believed to have suffered a stroke two years ago and thought to have kidney problems, while his Swiss-educated son’s age is either 26 or 27, and he may suffer from diabetes. Beyond that there is little for anyone to go on apart from reports that he most closely resembles his father for a love of movies and a ruthless streak, and speaks at least three languages.