North Korea set to test third nuclear weapon

As Kim prepares to appoint son as successor, he orders 3rd nuclear test as bargaining chip.

September 13, 2009 13:53
2 minute read.
North Korea set to test third nuclear weapon

Kim Jong Il 248.88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])


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North Korea has launched a public propaganda campaign to prepare its people for the succession of Kim Jong Il's youngest son as leader, a news report said Sunday. North Korea has mentioned Kim Jong Un by his full name - which it had not done in the past - and his qualifications in broadcasts through speakers installed in each house, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified source on North Korean affairs. Meanwhile, Fox News reported Sunday that the North Korean leader has ordered his country's third nuclear test. According to the report, the test will use enriched uranium. Last month, Kim told his party leaders that the goal of the new test is to force the US into another round of negotiations. The broadcast campaign for the succession was launched in Pyongyang about two months ago, but it was not clear if it had been extended to other parts of the country, Yonhap said. North Koreans are obligated to install speakers in their homes to listen to broadcasts on policy of the ruling Workers' Party and its propaganda, according to North Koreans who have defected to the South. Kim, 67, believed to have suffered a stroke last year, has not publicly named his successor, but is widely reported to be grooming the 26-year-old to take over. However, North Korea's No. 2 leader Kim Yong Nam last week told Japan's Kyodo news agency that Kim Jong Il is in good health, and denied that Kim Jong Un had been named successor. He dismissed the reports as speculation by foreign media aimed at harming the North. The speculation has also eased somewhat since Kim Jong Il met former President Bill Clinton last month in a landmark meeting that led to the release of two detained U.S. journalists. Kim, who has three sons, has controlled the isolated, impoverished nation of 24 million with absolute authority since he assumed power upon his father Kim Il Sung's death in 1994, leading to concerns about instability and a power struggle in the nuclear-armed nation if he were to die without naming a successor. Yonhap said North Korea has designated the 2012 birth centennial of Kim Il Sung as the date for an official announcement for the succession as long as the current leader remains healthy. In other moves seen as promoting Kim Jong Un, the North has released a song said to symbolize him being groomed as heir, Yonhap said. Korea's largest news agency also quoted a South Korean visitor who said that a guide at a North Korean tourist site last month referred to a visit by Kim Jong Un with his father to the site. The name of the site and other details were not given. Previously, such references by tourist guides were confined to Kim Jong Il or his late father Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder, said the agency. South Korea's intelligence services declined to comment on the Yonhap report.

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