North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Assumes Top Party Post

Posted April 12th, 2012 at 1:10 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea has neared completion of its leadership transition, giving Kim Jong Un several new titles and solidifying his position as heir to the political dynasty established by his father and grandfather.

North Korea's official news agency said Thursday Mr. Kim was named chairman of the ruling Worker's Party Central Military Commission, which controls the country's 1.1 million member military. He was also elected Wednesday as a standing member of the party's powerful Political Bureau and awarded the newly created title of “first secretary.”

Observers say Mr. Kim's newest titles appear to complete his inevitable and rapid rise to the top of the communist party's leadership – a process that began when his father, Kim Jong Il, died in December.

The move comes shortly before the expected launch of what Pyongyang says is a weather satellite but has been denounced by other countries as a disguised ballistic missile test.


The rocket launch is part of a month of celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country's founding leader and father of Kim Jong Il.

Since Kim Jong Il's death in December, the younger Kim has moved quickly into a number of posts controlling the key levers of power in the secretive and authoritarian government.

Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, announced Kim Jong Un's elevation to the top party post on Wednesday.

“In reflection of the unanimous will of all the participants in the representative meeting, party members of the whole country, service-persons of the Korean People's Army and the people, I respectfully propose to this meeting to nominate in high esteem the respected Kim Jong Un as the First Secretary of the Worker's Party of Korea.”

A year before his father's death, Mr. Kim was made a four-star general, in spite of a lack of any military experience. In late December, he was named supreme commander of military forces.

He has undertaken a number of guidance visits to military facilities and schools, usually accompanied by a group of men in their 70s and 80s.

It is believed he is being mentored by Kim Kyong Hui, an aunt who was close to Kim Jong Il, and her powerful husband, Jang Song Taek.