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Speculating Kim Jong-un: North Korea’s future ruler

By now you’ve heard that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, 67, may or may not have pancreatic cancer. The Associated Press reported, according to South Korean TV station YTN, Kimmy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was hospitalized for a stroke last August.

Of course, he’s not going to be excited in admitting his sickness. (Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst cancers to have, after all.) You can tell though, just by looking at him, that he’s not exactly in ship shape.

According to the American Cancer Society, he shouldn’t last more than a year.

It seems like great news that someone as (you can fill in the blank) as Mr. Jong-il won’t be a problem to us for very much longer. Think it through, however, because you know that he’s got someone just as wonderful as he is lined up to succeed him. While it has yet to be officially announced, all signs are pointing to his youngest son Kim Jong-un.

There isn’t much known about Jong-un. According to a Web exclusive by Foreign Policy Magazine, Jong-un was born in 1983 or 1984 to Kim’s third wife, Ko Hyong-hui. A memoir written by Kenji Fujimoto, Jong-il’s personal chef from many years ago, gives one of the only accounts of Jong-un and captures the only public picture of him as a child. According to Time, Fujimoto’s book, which was published in 2003, referenced Jong-un as “a chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality.”

Hmm…. That doesn’t sound so promising.

The United Kingdom’s Telegraph reported a few (suspected) facts about Kim Jong-un:
– he studied at the International School of Berne in Guemligen, Switzerland,
– after finishing his studies he returned to the military in Pyongyang,
– he can speak German, French and English,
– he’s overweight,
– he’s diabetic
– and he has possible health conditions from a car accident.

Recently Jong-un has been appointed to the National Defense Commission (NDC) in an unnamed capacity, according to South Korea’s Yonhap. This same news agency reported, in January of this year, that Kim Jong-un was appointed to take his father’s place on January 8, 2010.

Yet, with Kim Jong-il’s recent pancreatic cancer “diagnosis” it could be sooner.

With so little known about Jong-un, it’s difficult to predict the future, but we can’t expect it to be too different. A mind like Jong-il wouldn’t leave the nation that he’s worked so hard to control to someone who doesn’t share similar ideology.

Kimg Jong-un has been described as being very similar to his father. As the favorite son, we shouldn’t expect to see much of a change (for the better at least) if he is to take over when his father dies.

Only time will tell. But, if you’re interested in learning more about the suspected new ruler, you’ll probably have a difficult time finding anything out. As with many other aspects of North Korea, it’s all speculation.

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