SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il promoted his son and his sister to top military positions in the hours before the country's largest political conference in 30 years, demonstrating anew his reliance on family bloodlines to protect his reclusive regime.
The elevation of Kim's son Kim Jong Eun to the rank of general verified his status as the Stalinist dictator's heir apparent.
But according to experts, it was the tapping of sister Kim Kyong Hui to a similar position that offered a glimpse into Kim Jong Il's strategy for protecting power as his health declines and his untested son emerges. To put it simply: He plans to rely on his family.
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More News On North Korea's Largest Political Conference In 30 Years
Kim’s sister seen as regime guardian -- Financial Times
Aunt to be minder to leader Kim Jong-un -- The Australian
North Korea's Historical Party Meeting Is Underway -- NPR
North Korean leader re-elected general secretary -- RIA Novosti
Kim reappointed party general secretary -- UPI
Kim Jong-il's heir Kim Jong-un made general -- The Australian
N Korean leader's son 'promoted' -- BBC
North Korea's Kim Jong-Il appoints son, Kim Jong Un, to general, fueling speculation he'll lead next -- New York Daily News
N Korea propaganda gears up for younger Kim -- Financial Times
Young Kim Jong-un to complete Unholy Trinity -- The Australian
A look at North Korea's ruling Workers' Party -- AP
Backgrounder: Key facts about DPRK leader Kim Jong Il -- Xinhuanet
North Korea On Its Last Legs? -- Time Magazine
Kim gives more power to the in-crowd -- Bradley K Martin, Asia Times