SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-Un was elected the top military official of the ruling party, state media said early Thursday, ahead of a widely-criticised planned rocket launch.
Jong-Un was elected the chairman of the Central Military Commission — which controls the 1.1 million-strong military — at a party conference on Wednesday, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The announcement comes after the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) on Wednesday declared Jong-Un its “first secretary,” an apparently new title.
His father Kim Jong-Il, who died last December, was declared “eternal” general secretary of the party, the post he had held in his lifetime.
The new titles are likely to bolster the authority of Jong-Un, aged in his late 20s, by stressing his status as dynastic successor.
The country is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth on April 15 of founding leader Kim Il-Sung, the late grandfather of the current ruler.
The North has started fuelling a rocket for a satellite launch scheduled sometime between Thursday and next Monday to mark the occasion.
The United States and other nations have strongly condemned the plan as a disguised ballistic missile test. – Agence France-Presse