Kim Jong-un named to top post of NK‘s Workers‘ Party
North Korea's young new leader, Kim Jong-un, was named Wednesday to a newly-created top post of the North's ruling Workers' Party, further consolidating his grip on power ahead of a planned rocket launch.
Kim, who is believed to be in his late 20s, was appointed as the "first secretary" of the North's all-powerful ruling party at a crucial party conference held earlier in the day, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Kim's late father, Kim Jong-il, who died of a heart attack last December, was also named the "eternal" general secretary of the party "in reflection of the unanimous will and desire of all the party members and other people," KCNA said.
The fourth Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) conference "decided to elect the dear respected Kim Jong-un as first secretary of the WPK true to the behests of leader Kim Jong-il," it said.
The young Kim's ascension to the party's top post of general secretary has been widely expected, but some analysts in Seoul said that he was given a new top title to wield power over the party while retaining the late father's "dying wish."
Professor Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea expert at Korea University, said, "Most high-ranking officials at the Workers' Party are around the same age as the late father of Kim Jong-un."
"It seems that Kim Jong-un created the post of first secretary to show his modesty to the old guards of the Workers' Party while exercising a practical power over the party," Yoo said.
Meanwhile, North Korea's state radio said it will air an "important broadcast" later Wednesday, soon after the news of current and late leaders' new titles were announced.
The North's party conference was held as North Korea has begun injecting fuel into a long-range rocket ahead of its launch, in defiance of international warnings.
A South Korean military official said the fuel injection has been detected, a process that could take about four hours.
"I think the fuel injection will be completed at an appropriate date," Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control center of the Korean Committee of Space Technology, told a group of visiting foreign journalists in Pyongyang, the Reuters news agency reported.
Paek said the exact timing of the launch will be decided by his superiors, and he would not comment on when the fuel injection would be complete, according to Reuters.