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Photo shows N. Korea's heir apparent began field inspection long ago
SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- A belatedly discovered scene from North Korea's television footage showed Friday that leader Kim Jong-il's heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, has accompanied his father on so-called field guidance trips since at least April of last year.

   Kim Jong-il is believed to have secretly anointed the 20-something son as his successor in January last year, several months after the 68-year-old leader suffered a rumored stroke.
A clip broadcast in April last year by the North's Korean Central Television station shows a group photo in which a man who appears to be Kim Jong-un is posing for a camera.

   The photo, taken at an agricultural university in the eastern city of Wonsan, which Kim Jong-il was inspecting at the time, also showed a man who appeared to be Jong-un's older brother, Jong-chul, on the far left and a woman who is believed to be his younger sister on the far right.

   Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the ruling Workers' Party, appeared to be standing in the photo, second from the right side.

   Jong-chul has apparently fallen out of his father's favor, while Jong-un geared up to inherit the throne by debuting as a four-star general and subsequently receiving senior political posts this week at a major Workers' Party convention.

   Following the gathering, North Korea's official media released a series of photos and video clips unveiling him to the world, showing a rotund-faced man who resembles his late grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il-sung.

   The April 2009 photo indicates Kim Jong-un has long been busy learning skills to govern the impoverished communist state, which conducted a long-range rocket test that month in defiance of international warnings and its second atomic test weeks later.

   Analysts say Jong-un appears to be as tall as 170 centimeters. Little is known about him other than that he was educated in Switzerland, loves NBA star Michael Jordan and has a competitive personality.

  

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