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N. Korea's leader-in-waiting increases public appearances
By Kim Kwang-tae
SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's leader-in-waiting Kim Jong-un has actively taken part in public activities since he officially debuted a year ago, South Korea's Unification Ministry said Monday.

   Kim accompanied his father, the country's leader Kim Jong-il, on 100 out of 152 inspection tours for the past one year, the ministry said after analyzing North Korean state media reports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (R) and his heir-apparent son Jong-un (L) pose with visiting President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone in Pyongyang on Sept. 23. (KCNA-Yonhap file photo)

The move illustrates that Kim Jong-il's plan to extend his family dynasty for a third generation is under way in the isolated country.

   The North Korean leader named his youngest son, Jong-un, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party and a four-star general last September in the clearest sign yet to make him the next leader.

   The succession, if made, would mark communism's second hereditary power transfer. The elder Kim inherited power from his father, the country's founder Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.

   On 26 of the 100 outings, the heir apparent son inspected military units along with his father, while on 25, he visited economic facilities, according to the ministry that handles inter-Korean affairs.

   Kim Jong-un attended a summit between his father and Laos President Choummaly Sayasone in Pyongyang last week, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency.

   Kim Jong-un has not yet made any solo inspection trips, though some photos released by the North's state media put the leader-in-waiting in the center of the photos.

   The North has also taken steps to idolize Kim Jong-un in an apparent move to consolidate support from its people in the country's power succession process.