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SUCCESSION IS in the air in North Korea as the secretive communist state put on a massive celebration rehearsal last weekend for its biggest political conference in 40 years. Speculation is rife that ailing leader Kim Jong-il will use the Workers Party convention to give a key ruling party position to his third and youngest son.
"He is more engaging with other people, but then others say he can be cruel," says Ha Tae-keung, president of Open Radio for North Korea in Seoul. "He has already purged people in the defence commission he regards as opponents."