10/11/2005, 00.00
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North Korea marks 60th anniversary of Workers' Party

The appointment of the successor to the leader, Kim Jong-il is expected. It is likely that one of his three sons will be chosen. But the "communist dynasty" would come up against resistance from politicians and military personnel.

Pyongyang (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The North Korean communist leadership marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party on 10 October in Pyongyang, with a grand military parade and entertainment.

Many international observers expected the dictator, Kim Jong-il to nominate his successor from among his three sons. The "dear leader" is 63 years, the same age as his father Kim Il-Sung was in 1974, when as absolute leader of the country, he appointed his son as secretary of the Workers' Party. Kim Jong-il succeeded his father in 1994, thus giving rise to the world's first communist dynasty.

According to a press agency citing "diplomatic sources", the three sons (Jong-nam aged 34, Jong-chul, 24, and 22-year-old Jong-woon) have "have more or less an equal chance of being nominated". However, it is believed that Jong-nam no longer enjoys his father's favour since he was expelled from Japan for entering the country on a false passport, most probably to go to the Disneyland park in Tokyo. The youth survived two assassination attempts in 2004, in China and Austria, purportedly rooted in a power struggle.

In recent years, Jong-chul has emerged as the favorite to step into the shoes of Kim Jong-il, but little is know about him, apart from the fact that he studied in Switzerland.

The youngest son, Jong-woon, is held to be the most able of all three, however too young to be picked. There is also the doubt, voiced by some analysts, about whether a dynastic power can endure in Korea.

Kim Myong-chol, a political expert often considered as Pyongyang's "unofficial spokesman" by western media, said:  "Kim Jong-il, with his proven ability to command the Workers' Party, has fitted his role of strong leadership in his country's struggle against the United States. Now the country is inclined to reach a settlement with the United States in his time. They won't need a hero any longer."

Kim Seung-whan, a North Korea expert for the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the dictator "will have to face some harsh resistance from political and military leaders" if he appoints one of his sons as his successor. "Kim does not have as much power and support from people as his father."

According to Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University, the "dear leader" will first appoint his successor to an important post on the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea or to a high-ranking military position.

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