Mystery Surrounds N. Korea Successor Kim Jong Un

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Kim Jong Un is next in line to take over North Korea, but there are now reports that he will lead with the help of his uncle and the military -- shifting the country into collective rule.

Tens of thousands of mourners packed Pyongyang's main square to mourn the loss of their dictator Kim Jong Il, Wednesday.

But some questioned whether the images of crying men and women were authentic.

"Part of this is political," claimed Victor Cha, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's manufactured and it's required on the part of citizens, but you cannot discount that some of this is quite genuine."

Kim Jong Un is the heir to the North Korean regime and its nuclear weapons, but many doubt his ability to lead.

"Kim Jong Un has a huge learning curve. He's only been preparing for this for about two years," explained Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund.

South Korean officials say a committee will handle key affairs in North Korea until he formally becomes the leader.

The news of Kim Jong Un's rise to power was a shock to those who knew him as a young boy.

Al Jazeera talked with a former classmate, who knew him by a different name.

"I saw a picture and I couldn't believe it," the man said. "It's a strange feeling in the stomach to know a guy that could use a nuclear bomb."

The new dictator likely understands the outside world better than his father. He listened to pop music and idolized basketball star Michael Jordan.

Experts say Kim Jong Un's international experience could be a plus.

"He speaks some English, and he speaks some German," former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Don Gregg said. "And he knows far more about the outside world than his father or grandfather ever did."

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Tyler James

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Tyler James writes and produces stories for CBN's daily newscasts and The 700 Club.  He also served as a photographer and field editor during the 2008 presidential race, covering campaign stops, both conventions and election night parties.

Tyler received his Bachelors of Arts in telecommunications with an emphasis on broadcast journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University.