Political Succession in North Korea

For the past year, there has been intense interest and speculation regarding the rise of Kim Jong-un, youngest son of North Korea’s current leader Kim Jong-il, as successor to his father. A handover of power to the younger Kim would constitute a successive third generation of rule by the same political family. Therefore, the issue of succession raises important questions about the nature of the North Korean political system, the future of the country, and the impact that any leadership change will have on North Korea’s relations with South Korea and the rest of the world.