North Korea may see power transfer from Kim Jong Il to 3rd son

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Washington, Jun 27 (ANI): A rare meeting has been called by North Korea that would see the rise of Kim Jong Un, a son of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il, as the new leader of the country, analysts have said.

Delegates from the ruling Korean Workers' Party would meet in September to select a new party leadership, according to official state news media.

Analysts said the gathering had all the hallmarks of a similar meeting in 1980 when Kim Jong Il was elevated to the Politburo to replace his father, Kim Il Sung, The Washington Post reports.

The planned shift of power in North Korea had been a topic of speculation since Kim Jong Il suffered an apparent stroke in August 2008.

Tensions have increased in the region since a North Korean mini-submarine reportedly fired a torpedo into the Cheonan on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

In view of those tensions, President Barack Obama announced on Saturday that he was moving to bolster the United States' already-close alliance with Seoul by taking the politically risky step of asking Congress to pass a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

"This should be read as an indication of things working well between Washington and Seoul," said L. Gordon Flake, executive director of the Mansfield Foundation.

Adding more uncertainty to the security environment on the Korean Peninsula is Kim Jong Un and the political transition, The Washington Post reports.

Saturday's announcement, carried by North Korea's Central News Agency, said the September convention will be held to elect the ruling party's "highest leading body". The report did not name Kim Jong Un specifically.

Very little is known about Jong Un, who is believed to be 27 years old. Since North Korea was established in 1948, it has had two leaders-Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. (ANI)

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