Washington, June 11 (ANI): North Korea is launching missiles, testing nuclear devices and whipping up global tension so that its ailing supreme leader, Kim Jong Il, can create conditions for a "hereditary transfer of power," according to a top South Korean defence official.
Many analysts say that the elder Kim, who is 67 and suffered a stroke last summer, is trying to distract North Koreans from the collapsed economy and continuing food shortages to make a security-based case for giving power to his young son.
South Korean Defence Minister Lee Sang-hee's remarks were the clearest signal so far that North's recent eruptions of belligerence is part of an unfolding succession drama, as Kim lays the groundwork for handing over power to his third son, Kim Jung Un (26).
The North Korean leadership "does not hesitate to commit provocative acts" to achieve political goals, Lee said in an internal message to the military, which was later released by a spokesman, The Washington Post reports.
Lee said that Kim Jong Il is "obsessed with the development of nuclear power, launching of missiles and creating tension in order to build the basis for hereditary power transfer to his successor."
Lee did not mention Kim's third son by name, but South Korean intelligence agency told lawmakers last week that Jong Un, who attended a private school in Switzerland as a teenager, was his father's choice to take over the family dynasty.
Inside North Korea, school children and soldiers have begun singing songs in praise of Jong Un, who is sometimes called the "Young General," according to aid groups that have contacts within the country.
In a brief and surprisingly amiable interview broadcast this week on Japanese television, Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam (38), said his youngest brother appears to have been given the leadership nod.
As the eldest son, Jong Nam had been viewed for years as the likely successor. But his chances apparently collapsed in 2001, when he embarrassed his father by getting caught for entering Japan on a phony passport. He told Japanese officials he wanted to visit Disneyland in Tokyo.
Jong Nam said during the interview that he has no chance in the future to be the leader of North Korea. "By the way, I think I am a lucky person," he added. (ANI)