North Korea will divide power vacated by the late Kim Jong-il between his heir, Kim Jong-un, and the military.
In an exclusive Reuters report, an undisclosed source with ties in Pyongyang and Beijing says North Korea will adopt a collective rule, where power is divided between Kim Jong-un, the heir of Kim Jong-il; Jang Song-thaek, the brother-in-law of Kim Jong- il; and military commanders.
In North Korea, Jang Song-thaek, 65, is viewed as the power behind the throne, and so is his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il's sister. Ri Yong-ho, the darling of North Korea's military and currently its most senior general, is also revered as a powerful leader.
Koh Yu-hwan, president of the Korean Association of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the plans for leadership were put in place by Kim Jong-il before his death.
“The relative calm seen these few days shows it's been effective,” he told Reuters report. “If things were not running smoothly, then we'd have seen a longer period of 'rule by mummy,’ with Kim Jong-il being faked as still being alive."
The high-level source also said Beijing was notified of Kim's death earlier on Monday, the same day North Korean television broke the news, but a leading South Korean newspaper reported that China had learned of Kim's death soon after it occurred. Kim Jong- il died on Saturday.
China has given no statement on whether it was told of Kim's death before North Korea’s public announcement.
The source added that North Korea has been pressured by its ally, China, to denuclearize, and that the military state is willing to do so under the condition that North Korea, South Korea, the United States and China sign an armistice replacing a 1953 ceasefire agreement.
North and South Korea have been technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice, but no peace agreement. The United States supported South Korea, and China supported North Korea during the conflict.
North Korea is convinced that there are U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea and demands Washington pull them out, the source said. After Kim’s death, Pyongyang fired a missile to display their continuous stability and the sovereignty of the Kim dynasty.