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You're reading: Shades of North Korea’s founder in its young new leader
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North Korea’s young new leader, Kim Jong Un, appears to be fashioning himself as the reincarnation of Kim Il Sung, his grandfather and the nation’s founder, as he seeks to solidify his hold on the nation of 24 million in the wake of his father’s death last month.

Unlike Kim Jong Il, who sequestered himself for three years of mourning before formally taking up the mantle of leadership, Kim Jong Un is moving swiftly to demonstrate a decisiveness perhaps aimed at dispelling concerns about his ability to rule. He is only in his late 20s and made his public debut as his father’s anointed successor just 15 months ago, far less time than the 20 years Kim Jong Il had to prepare to lead.

With the world watching, Kim Jong Un has tread confidently down the "red silk carpet" laid before him by his father, as one analyst put it, using family tradition as his guideposts. Kim Il Sung has served as his main muse as he seeks to consolidate power and loyalty.

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