Did atheist N. Korea's leaders really say they'll "pray" for Kim Jong-il?
Why have his successors called for three minutes of prayer at the end of his official mourning period?
BY: Rob Kerby
would have balked at their totalitarian rule decades ago.
Little is known about the new leader. “The young man tipped to be North Korea’s next leader and propel the Kim dynasty into a third generation is even more of an enigma than his mercurial father,” reported Agence France Presse:
Kim Jong-Un’s life is shrouded in mystery, but in recent years he has been pushed to the forefront as his father apparently speeded up plans for the nation’s second dynastic succession, after suffering a stroke in August 2008. In September 2010 the son was made a four-star general and given senior ruling party posts, despite his lack of any military experience.
It was only then that state media published his first-ever adult photograph — an image of a chubby young man dressed in a dark Mao-type suit sitting in a line-up of top communist party officials.
Since his elevation, Kim Jong-Un has been constantly at his father’s side, and is said to be actively involved in state affairs.
In a memoir, Kenji Fujimoto, a former Japanese sushi chef for Kim Jong-Il, described the Swiss-educated Jong-Un as a “chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality”.
Some analysts had seen second son Kim Jong-Chul as favorite to take over. But Fujimoto said in his memoir that Kim thought of Jong-Chul as effeminate and unfit for leadership.
Eldest son Jong-Nam apparently spoiled his prospects after being deported from Japan in 2001 for trying to enter with a forged passport while attempting a visit to Tokyo Disneyland.
Jong-Un was born to the leader’s third wife, Japan-born ethnic Korean dancer Ko Yong-Hi, who is believed to have died of breast cancer in 2004. He is believed to have studied at international school in Switzerland under a false name. Newspaper reports say he enjoyed