North Korea will shift to collective rule from a strongman dictatorship after last week’s death of Kim Jong-il, although his untested young son will be at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.
The source added that the military has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong-un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War Two.
The source declined to be identified but has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 before it took place.
The comments are the first signal that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated — it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948. Both Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung were all-powerful, authoritarian rulers of the isolated state.
The situation in North Korea appeared stable after the military gave its backing to Kim Jong-un, the source said.
“It’s very unlikely,” the source said when asked about the possibility of a military coup. “The military has pledged allegiance to Kim Jong-un.” North Korea’s collective leadership will include Kim Jong-un, his uncle and the military, the source said.
Jang Song-thaek, 65, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il and the younger Kim’s uncle, is seen as the power behind the throne along with his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il’s sister. So too is Ri Yong-ho, the rising star of the North’s military and currently its seniormost general.
The source also said the North Korea test-fired a missile on Monday to warn the United States not to make any moves against it. Kim Jong-un will be the head of the ruling coterie; military coup ruled out.