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Jang Song-taek Named as a Caretaker for Kim Jong-un Updated: 2010-08-17 00:00:00 KST

The Washington Post reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il named his brother-in-law as the caretaker to ensure a smooth power transfer to his youngest son, Jong-un .
Jang Song-taek , who was recently promoted as vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission, the regime's highest military body has served as the most trusted ally to Kim for several decades now.
Jang is also a holiday companion and a drinking partner to the ailing leader accompanying him on 40 out of 77 trips to military and industrial sites this year alone.
However, experts say that the decision might be a gamble since Jang might try to seize power himself as he is the second most powerful man in the communist state while the most powerful man is too sick and the next in line is viewed as too young.
Kim suffered from a stroke in August 2008 and is currently receiving kidney dialysis and treatment for diabetes.
The most predictable scenario for the next few years would be that Jang would act as a behind-the-scenes kingmaker assisting Kim Jong-un but once Kim Jong-il disappears from the throne then the situation becomes even more difficult to predict.
Experts expect that in the case of a peaceful power transition Jang is likely to take control over international relations especially since he has a solid relationship with China while the young leader would deal with domestic issues.
The Washington Post also cited that the younger Kim might grow into an unpredictable figure even more aggressive toward South Korea and the outside world than previous leaders.
Thus, some American officials have expressed their wishes for Kim Jong-il to remain in power as long as possible.
Choi Won-young, Arirang News.
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