N. Korea youth group praises Kim's heir: Report

SEOUL - The newspaper of North Korea's major youth group has published a long article praising Kim Jong-Il's youngest son in an apparent move to shore up support for the heir apparent, a report said Monday.

The group with five million members published in its official Chongnyonjonwi newspaper an article fulsomely praising the leader's son, Kim Jong-Un, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a copy of the paper it had obtained.

The newspaper referred to Kim Jong-un as General Kim in its Sunday edition, it said.

"The legendary hero General Kim lifted high the gun of Sungun (military-first policy)," the article said.

The article was publicised nationwide by the North's Central TV Broadcasting Station that day, said Yonhap, which monitors the North's state media.

Jong-Un, believed to be in his late 20s, was made a four-star general and given senior posts in the ruling communist party last September to confirm his status as leader-in-waiting.

The 69-year-old current leader, who took over from his late father in the 1990s, speeded up succession plans after suffering a stroke in 2008.

Seoul-based groups of North Korean defectors say there is brewing scepticism among the North's public about Jong-Un despite attempts by Pyongyang to idolise him as the next leader.