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N. Korea new leader still a mystery after nearly a year: Pentagon

Published on Oct 25, 2012 7:33 AM
 
Whether North Korea's new leader will follow the dangerous path of his father is unclear, United States Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, despite worrying behavior by the reclusive state during his first year in power. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Whether North Korea's new leader will follow the dangerous path of his father is unclear, United States Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, despite worrying behavior by the reclusive state during his first year in power.

"The bottom line is we still don't know whether or not he will simply follow in the steps of his father or whether he represents a different kind of leadership for the future," Mr Panetta said, flanked by South Korea's defence chief at a Pentagon news conference.

The still largely untested Kim Jong Un, in his late 20s, has appeared to be trying hard to soften the dour image of his dictator father, whom he succeeded in December.

He has appeared waving and smiling at public events, even attending a pop concert that included Disney characters. At times - just as unusual for a North Korean leader - he was accompanied by his wife.

 
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