US Suspects N Korea Regime Shift
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted May 23, 2009 7:37 AM CDT
Kim Jong Il's youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has reportedly been named to the powerful National Defense Commission, an appointment analysts said indicates the 26-year-old is being groomed to take power.    (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File)
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(Newser) – American officials believe North Korea’s increasingly hostile foreign policy is the result of a power shift quietly taking place in the secretive nation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Analysts note that North Korea withdrew from nuclear talks shortly after Kim Jong Il’s suspected stroke, and say the leader’s brother-in-law and third son are emerging as key players in the country’s new power structure.

Kim's brother-in-law, who was given a seat on North Korea's National Defense Commission, is seen as a potential successor if one is needed in the short term. Longer term, he may act as a "regent" to guide one of Kim's sons into the supreme leadership and protect the family's interests.