Collective rule governs North Korea

After the death of Kim Jong-il at the end of 2011, and the rise of his untested young son Kim Jong-un, North Korea appears to have shifted to collective rule from the strongman dictatorship it has been.

Kim Jong-un is indeed at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing has said, and added that the military has pledged allegiance to the unproven Kim Jong-un.

This is a course what many analysts have anticipated — North Korea being governed by a group of people, though this is the first time for this approach since North Korea was founded in 1948.

North Korea’s collective leadership appears to include Kim Jong-un, his uncle and the military, sources said. Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, 65, is the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il, and likely the power behind the throne, along with his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il’s sister.

Also anticipated by Korea watchers to be highly involved was Ri Yong-ho, the chief of the military. However, in July of this year, Ri Yong-ho was relieved of his military and political duties, after more than 53 years of service.

So although only months into his reign, from this and other changes it appears that Kim Jong-un could be flexing his political power muscles.