Kim Jong Il Hints at Successor with Flower
Birthday begonia likely means son Kim Jong-Un has been chosen
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2010 2:00 PM CST
North Korean youth dance in a square as they celebrate the 68th birthday of the country's leader Kim Jong Il on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)

(Newser) – North Korea will use tens of thousands of flowers to celebrate Kim Jong Il’s birthday today, including one that’s got everyone talking: a new breed of begonia that could symbolize a coming passing of power. It was delivered on the Jan. 8 birthday of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un; experts say it’s a classic sign that the boy’s been chosen as Kim’s successor.

“North Korean leaders have used the flowers as a propaganda tool to glorify their leadership,” a Korean relations expert tells Bloomberg. “The flower is an obvious sign that Kim Jong Il is preparing a handover.” Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung, each had a special flower of their own. Little is known of the youngest Kim, who's likely about 26, save that he was given control of the secret police last year.