So much for the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. North Korea is turning itself into a "de facto monarchy," with ailing "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il naming his third son—a "25-year-old layabout" named Kim Jong Un—as his successor. "Not only is this unique among communist nations, it’s also unique among those nations gripped by cults of personality," where power is rarely transferred to a second generation, much less a third.
Kim Jong Il, who suffered a stroke last August, is clearly losing it, said the Korea Herald in an editorial, judging by his acceleration of the WMD program and his threats against "the United Nations over its condemnation of the state's roguish behavior." But the "ridiculous charade" of Kim Jong Un's anointment is the clearest sign yet that his father's "sick regime is in its terminal stages."
It's still early to assume that the reports of the succession plan are true, said Andrew Salmon in The Washington Times. South Korean newspapers are reporting the story, yet there has been no official announcement from North Korea, so analysts are skeptical. But "if the succession reports prove correct, it could make sense of the recent belligerence from Pyongyang:" Kim Jong Il could be trying to consolidate power so he can more safely transfer it to Kim Jong Un.
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