N Korea under collective rule

N Korea under collective rule

Jang Song-thaek, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il and uncle of Kim Jong-un. Reuters

The source added that the military, which is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal, has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong-un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War II.

The comments are the first signal that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated — it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948. The situation in North Korea appeared stable. “It’s very unlikely,” the source said when asked about the possibility of a military coup. “The military has pledged allegiance to Kim Jong-un.”

North Korea’s collective leadership will include Kim Jong-un, his uncle and the military, the source said.

Jang Song-thaek, 65, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il and the younger Kim’s uncle, is seen as the power behind the throne along with his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il’s sister. So too is Ri Yong-ho, the North’s seniormost general.

The younger Kim, in his late 20s, has his own supporters, but is not strong enough to consolidate power, analysts said.

China backs Kim Jong-un

Beijing, the North’s closest ally, has pulled out the stops to support Kim Jong-un. An invitation has been sent to him to visit Beijing. President Hu Jintao also visited Korea’s embassy in Beijing to express condolence.

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