In the News – North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un’s Inner Circle Filled With Aging Military Advisors

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In the News – North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un’s Inner Circle Filled With Aging Military Advisors

This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on January 23, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd R) visiting the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School at Pyongyang for the celebration of the lunar New Year. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Wherever North Korea’s young new leader goes, they’re there: a group of graying military and political officials who shadow Kim Jong Un as he visits army bases, attends concerts and tours schools.

As Kim Jong Un steps into the role of “supreme commander” less than two months after his father’s death, these officials can be seen in the background. They listen attentively as their leader speaks during “guidance visits” and stand at his side during group photos, smiling and clapping. Continue reading

In the News – Buzz Over Who’s Not in North Korea Picture(s)

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In the News – Buzz Over Who’s Not in North Korea Picture(s)

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Published: December 22, 2011

Korean Central News Agency, via Agence France-Presse - Getty Image

SEOUL, South Korea — Researchers scrutinizing North Korea’s official images and lists of mourners paying respects to Kim Jong-ilhave noticed two conspicuous absences: the elder brothers of Kim Jong-un, the appointed heir.

They have also been buzzing about the appearance of Kim Ok, one of Kim Jong-il’s closest aides, who has served as the North’s de facto first lady since Kim Jong-un’s mother died in 2004. She showed up on Wednesday in the North’s press coverage of mourners at the Kumsusan mausoleum in Pyongyang, the capital, where Kim Jong-il’s body has been on display in a glass coffin since the official announcement of his death on Monday.

Identifying the mourners and absentees in the world’s most closed society is one of the few ways available to outsiders trying to solve the mystery of the unfolding succession in Pyongyang. They are looking for any clues about whether Kim Jong-un, the second son of Kim Jong-il’s third wife, will be able to assert control over the monolithic dictatorship established by his father and grandfather. Continue reading