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
Kim Jong Il Hints at Successor with Flower
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)

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. (More Kim Jong Il stories.)

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