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North Korea to name new leader at summit

North Korea is expected to name a new leader at its much-anticipated Workers' Party convention - the secretive nation's biggest political meeting in 30 years - next week, state media said.

The gathering is being watched closely for signs that ageing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has anointed a son to succeed him and will formally reveal the plan by appointing his heir to top party posts.

Workers' Party delegates will meet on September 28 to elect new party leaders, the official Korean Central News Agency said. The dispatch did not explain why the meeting, initially set for "early September", was postponed.

The conference is the first major Workers' Party gathering since the landmark 1980 congress where Kim Jong Il was confirmed as North Korea's next leader.

Analysts in Seoul have predicted Kim, now 68 and apparently in deteriorating health, will use the meeting to give a top party post to his third son, Kim Jong Un, as part of plans to take the Kim dynasty into a third generation.

Kim Jong Il himself took over as leader in 1994 when his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, died of heart failure in communism's first hereditary transfer of power.

Little is known about Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s. There are also no confirmed photographs of him, apart from one widely circulated by the foreign media of him as a boy, and his name has never been mentioned in state media.

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