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Historic times in North Korea

The upcoming meeting of the North Korean Workers' Party will give the North Korea watchers plenty to chew on. At the last meeting thirty years ago, Kim Jong-il was designated the heir apparent to his father.

The orderly march of these delegates makes me wonder if this arrival was stage-managed for the cameras, or if North Koreans really behave in such an disciplined way.

UPDATE: Leader's son promoted

SEOUL, South Korea — Hidden from even the North Korean public, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-il has been for months the focus of speculation that he will next lead the impoverished state.

The first mention of Kim Jong-un in the North's official media came early on Tuesday, with his appointment as a military general just hours before the start of the biggest meeting of the ruling Workers' Party in 30 years.

The youngest of Kim's three known sons, Swiss-educated Jong-un is said to be 26 and his name in Chinese characters translates as "righteous cloud."

He is thought to speak English and German, and bears a striking resemblance to his father, informed sources have been quoted in the local media as saying.

South Korea's defense minister has said the North's recent military moves were aimed at helping Kim Jong-il, 68, pave the way for succession after questions of his leadership were raised when he was reported to have suffered a stroke in 2008.

This video is equally fascinating.