North Korea will reportedly shift to collective rule from a dictatorship after last week's death of Kim Jong-Il, although his untested son will head the ruling body, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters.
The source told Reuters exclusively that the military -- which is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal -- has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong Un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War II.
The source, who declined to be identified but has correctly predicted events in the past, told Reuters about the North's first nuclear test in 2006 before it took place. The comments are the first indication that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated -- it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948.
"It's very unlikely," the source said when asked about the possibility of a military coup. "The military has pledged allegiance to Kim Jong Un."
Also Wednesday, a South Korean lawmaker says intelligence officials are predicting a committee will handle key affairs until the twenty-something son of Kim Jong Il formally becomes leader.
Hwang Jin-ha told The Associated Press on Wednesday the National Intelligence Service made the assessment during a closed-door briefing. He says it believes the committee will be headed by the North Korean Workers' Party military commission. Kim's third son and heir Kim Jong Un is a vice chairman of that commission.
Hwang says the intelligence service predicted Kim's aunt Kim Kyong Hui and her husband, Jang Song Thaek, a vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, will play larger roles in supporting the younger Kim.
Hwang says the intelligence service did not indicate how it got the information.