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‘Dear Leader’ paves way for succession

Isolated North Korea summoned its political elite to a rare ruling party meeting.

Isolated North Korea summoned its political elite to a rare ruling party meeting. Regional powers will be keeping close tabs on the Workers’ Party conference today for any signs of change which could impact the destitute state’s economic and foreign policies.

Analysts say the conference will provide a platform for the political debut of young Kim Jong-un — the 20-something son of the state’s “Dear Leader” — and present him for the first time to the isolated country’s 23 million residents.

Experts say the most market-friendly outcome is an approximate continuation of the current system. The biggest concern is any signs of regime collapse that could result in internal unrest, massive refugee flows and military exchanges.

China and Japan are the world’s No. 2 and 3 economies and, with South Korea, account for close to 20 percent of global economic output. Instability on the Korean peninsula could have grave implications for the global economy.

At the last such party meeting 30 years ago, Kim, then aged 38, began his official role to succeed his father and state founder by taking on a Workers’ Party title.

 
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