World News Brief, Wednesday June 3

Ailing Kim Jong-Il chooses his successor (plus backgrounders); Obama vows to get Middle East peace process 'back on track'; Indonesia's presidential campaign kicks off; Geithner faces Chinese scepticism; and more

Top of the Agenda: Kim's Successor in North Korea?

South Korean media reported this morning that North Korean government officials have sworn their allegiance to the youngest son of Kim Jong-Il, establishing him as his ailing father's successor. Yonhap reports South Korea's intelligence agency told lawmakers that Kim had definitively chosen his third son, Jong-un. This, the article points out, is the first official word to come out of South Korea's government on the matter after months of media speculation following Kim Jong-Il's apparent stroke last year.

Questions remain, at this point, about who's actually in charge in North Korea. The BBC says North Korean officials were reportedly told to switch their allegiance to Kim Jong-un following the country's May 25 nuclear test. The news may have implications for how policymakers interpret the recent ratcheting-up of tensions. The BBC article cites analysts who say the nuclear test and subsequent missile tests could be aimed at helping Kim Jong-Il solidify power.


- The Korea Times has a profile of Kim Jong-un. It contradicts the idea that he is already controlling power and says North Korea appears to be grooming him to step in as his father's successor within the next few years.

- This Council Special Report examines how the United States and the world should prepare for regime change in North Korea.

- This Backgrounder looks at policy options for the United States in a post-Kim Jong-Il North Korea.

- In a new CFR analysis, four experts address the policy options available to influence Pyongyang.


PACIFIC RIM: China on Geithner Visit

The Chinese news source Global Times reports U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's assurances that Chinese assets are safe in U.S. dollar-backed securities have "fallen on deaf ears."

INDONESIA: Campaigning has begun for Indonesia's July presidential vote. The BBC says the current president is the frontrunner.



Obama discusses Israel, Middle East, ahead of trip.
Pakistan military frees 79 students held by militants.

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