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N. Korea says leader Kim Jong-il and son toured sauce factory, school

All Headlines 21:52 November 23, 2010

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Hours after launching a deadly artillery attack on South Korea, North Korea said Tuesday that its leader Kim Jong-il and his apparent successor together toured a soy sauce factory and a medical school in Pyongyang.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not carry any comment that would indicate the 68-year-old leader ordered the attack that killed two South Korean marines and injured civilians on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense western inter-Korean sea border.

The pair of reports, released simultaneously, did not say when Kim and his third son, Kim Jong-un, made the visits to the factory and the school, even though they were dated Tuesday.

The KCNA reports come amid growing curiosity over their whereabouts as military tension between the Koreas boils to a level unseen for years. North Korea has attacked the South Korean Navy three times since 1999, but never launched an attack that appeared to indiscriminately target both soldiers and civilians.

The reports carried Kim Jong-un's name first among the senior officials who accompanied Kim Jong-il, indicating he is second to his father in power in the North. Kim Jong-un, believed to be no older than 28, was unveiled to the world as a four-star military general in September and has since been designated as his father's successor.

Neither reports mentioned Ri Yong-ho, a North Korean vice marshal who heads the general staff and has been increasingly considered more powerful than the defense minister.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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