Kim Jong-il's third son, the likely successor to the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been appointed acting defense chief under his father, a Japanese newspaper reported on Saturday.
Kim Jong-un started supporting his father as acting chairman of the DPRK's National Defense Commission, the evening edition of the Mainichi Shimbun said, quoting unnamed sources close to DPRK leadership.
Kim Jong-il has held the country's two highest posts of defense commission chairman and secretary general of the Workers' Party of Korea, since his father, Kim Il-sung, died in 1994.
As acting chairman, which is still considered informal, the 26-year-old son appears to be securing his succession to his father, 67, who reportedly suffered a stroke last August, the newspaper said.
"Mr Kim Jong-un appears clearly having been designated to succeed our general (Kim Jong-il)," one of the sources said, according to the newspaper.
"Mr Kim Jong-un is now concentrating on the job of deputy chairman," the source said. "If something happens to our general, the chairman's position will be automatically taken by (Jong-un)."
(China Daily June 22, 2009)