All the usual caveats on North Korean regime speculation apply, but some analysts seem to be suggesting that North Korea artillery assault on a South Korean island this morning may have been ordered by heir apparent Kim Jong Un or at least related to his succession. The Sydney Morning Herald writes:
NORTH KOREA has burnished the leadership credentials of its 26-year-old dictator-in-waiting with a deadly artillery attack on South Korean territory, causing its neighbour to return fire and scramble F-16 fighters.
Two South Korean marines died, and at least 12 were wounded. There were reports of civilian injuries and houses were set ablaze as scores of shells fell on Yeonpyeong island.
A North Korea expert at Beijing's Central Party School, Zhang Liangui, told the Herald that Kim Jong-un was deliberately destabilising the environment in order to mobilise the military and consolidate his power. [...]
Chinese North Korea specialists believe the brinkmanship is designed to mobilise the country around the anointed successor of Kim Jong-il, his son Kim Jong-un.
Time's Bill Powell adds:
PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images