New North Korean heir

North Korea, whose increasingly military posturing after last week’s nuclear test has prompted US and South Korean forces to raise the alert level, is readying mid-range missiles for test launches, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported a lawmaker as saying after a defence briefing.
The news rattled financial markets in Seoul, adding to worries over reports the impoverished state is preparing to test fire a long-range missile that could fly as far as US territory.
Analysts believe that Kim Jong-il, whose power base stems from his support for the military, may be using the growing tension to give him greater leverage over power elites at home to nominate his own successor. It has raised alarm in the region over how far iron ruler Kim, 67, may be prepared to take his latest military grandstanding.

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