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Yuriko Koike

Speculation on N. Korea mushrooms

Yuriko Koike 45%

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A new round of second-guessing over the possibility of a power struggle in North Korea has been raised in the latest media reports.

In the wake of North Korea's rescheduling of its Workers' Party Meeting last week, speculation has arisen as to the significance of the postponement regarding an upcoming power transfer in the reclusive communist country.

Former Japanese defense minister Yuriko Koike wrote in an op-ed piece published in South China Morning Post, about the possibility of an overly ambitious aunt of the North's heir apparent posing a formidable challenge to Kim Jong-un's rise to replace the Dear Leader.

"Kim Kyong-hui's intent to exercise power after her brother's (Kim Jong-il) death is supported by rumors she helped arrange a traffic accident in June that killed Ri Je-gang, a senior party official and perceived guardian of Kim Jong-un who reportedly attempted to oust Kim Kyong-hui and her allies from power," Koike said.

The former Japan's defense minister went on to say that the sister of the North Korean leader may have plans to become the successor herself.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, disagreed with Koike on the prospect of a power struggle in the North.

He told The Korea Times over the phone that given that support from the military is critical in becoming the North's next leader, the chances for Kim Kyong-hui, whose influence in the military is minimal, of rising to take authority were minimal.

Kim has served as a member of the Central Committee since 1988.

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09-19-201 0

Source: www.koreatimes.co.kr

By Kang Hyun-kyung

11.10.2010



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