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By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
Topic - Il Kim
With the briefest of remarks, North Korea ended weeks of speculation: The mystery woman accompanying young leader Kim Jong-un to recent public events is his wife, "comrade Ri Sol-ju."
Young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday made his second speech at a major public event since taking power in December, addressing a children's rally aimed at winning a new generation's support.
A senior North Korean party official dismissed concerns about Kim Jong-un's readiness to lead, saying he spent years working closely with his late father and helped him make key policy decisions on economic and military affairs.
At first glance, it seems like business as usual: North Korea issues an indignant statement taking aim at the United States over a proposal to donate food in return for nuclear disarmament. But between the lines are glimmers of conciliation.
North Korea's new leader vowed in 2009 to wage war if the country's enemies shot down its long-range rocket, footage aired on state television showed Sunday in the first official word of his role in military operations before his father's death.
North Korea's power brokers publicly declared Kim Jong Un the country's supreme leader for the first time at a massive public memorial Thursday for his father, cementing the family's hold on power for another generation.
Late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il kept the world guessing in death as in life, with state media keeping quiet about the timing and details of his funeral Wednesday.
It's a North Korean version of Christmas, with Kim Jong-il playing Santa Claus. In past years, the authoritarian leader has celebrated his birthday by handing out gifts to his people ranging from rice to Rolexes, an annual attempt to buy loyalty and stability.
North Korea celebrated its 62nd anniversary Thursday with odes to supreme leader Kim Jong-il and pilgrimages to his late father's statue amid hints that a political meeting believed aimed at promoting his son as successor is imminent.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has turned up in China in a strangely timed visit for the reclusive leader while former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is in North Korea trying to win the release of an imprisoned American.
"Those partners are gone," Mr. Kim said. "Globally, North Korea is more economically isolated and vulnerable."
"This kind of rhetoric that we're seeing now spoken by Kim Jong-un himself seems to me unprecedented because it's at such short intervals," Mr. Kim said. "The intimidation level that the rhetoric is trying to portray is the highest I've seen since the Korean War, really."