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North Korea to elect leaders

| June 27, 2010 9:00 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Secretive North Korea said Saturday it will choose new ruling party leaders later this year - a surprise announcement that is intensifying speculation the regime is setting the stage for supreme ruler Kim Jong Il's youngest son to eventually succeed him.

The question of who will take over from the 68-year-old Kim, believed to suffer from a host of ailments, is important because the leader - as presumably his successor would - holds absolute power in the impoverished country, which has active nuclear and missile programs and regularly threatens to destroy rival South Korea.

Kim is also supreme commander of the Korean People's Army as well as general secretary of the Workers' Party.

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