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US, ROK discuss DPRK plans for power transfer

[ 2010-10-08 11:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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A senior United States official held talks in the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Thursday about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) apparent preparations for a power transfer, after the heir apparent to Kim Jong-il made another public appearance.

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said Seoul and Washington needed to "remain in lockstep" in responding to developments in the nuclear-armed nation.

He also stressed that the DPRK must mend ties with the ROK and show commitment to denuclearisation before international disarmament negotiations can resume.

"What's most important... is to ensure the US and the ROK will remain in lockstep and are extraordinarily closely engaged on mutual assessments in terms of developments in the DPRK," the top US diplomat for East Asia told reporters.

Campbell, who arrived from Tokyo, said his talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-shin and chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac gave him a chance "to discuss developments last week in terms of the party congress in the DPRK".

The meeting, the biggest in three decades, gave Kim Jong-il's youngest son Jung-un powerful party posts, a day after his aging father had named him a four-star general.

Pyongyang's official media said on Thursday the young protege attended a concert with his father, his second reported public appearance in a week after he cemented his status as leader-in-waiting.

Previous media reports said on Tuesday that the two watched a military exercise staged to mark a Workers' Party anniversary this coming Sunday. The DPRK is reportedly also planning a huge military parade to commemorate the event.

The likely eventual next leader remains a mystery to the outside world. Until last week the Swiss-educated young man, believed aged about 27, had never had his name or photograph published in official media.

His 68-year-old father suffered a stroke two years ago and is thought since then to have speeded up succession planning.

The ROK's Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, in charge of cross-border relations, said the DPRK was entering a "era of major transformation" during succession preparations.

"Such a change bears innate uncertainties politically, economically and socially," he told a forum on Thursday.

"Whether the uncertainties will be resolved, deepen or continue is something to be watched carefully."


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

US, ROK discuss DPRK plans for power transfer

About the broadcaster:

US, ROK discuss DPRK plans for power transfer

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.