Kim Jong Un confirmed as leader
A top North Korean official has confirmed that Kim Jong Il's youngest son will succeed him as the next leader.
In the first public confirmation of the succession plan, Yang Hyong Sop, referred to Kim Jong Un as "the young general" during an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.
Yang said the nation's people were honoured to serve him as their leader.
He would be the third successive generation of his family to lead the nation of 24 million. His grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded the nation in 1948 on policy of self-reliance called "juche" and built a cult of personality around him and his son, Kim Jong Il.
"Our people take pride in the fact that they are blessed with great leaders from generation to generation," Yang said.
"Our people are honoured to serve the great President Kim Il Sung and the great leader Kim Jong Il," he added. "Now we also have the honour of serving young General Kim Jong Un."
Kim Jong Un had been virtually unknown outside North Korea before he made his public debut last week, when he was promoted to four-star general and vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea's central military commission.
That backed up analyst speculation that he had been chosen to succeed his ailing father as eventual ruler of the impoverished authoritarian regime, which pursues active nuclear and missile programmes.