News / Asia

New North Korean Leader Assumes Another Top Post

In this Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011, by the Korea News Service, Kim Jong Un, center, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's youngest known son and successor, visits at
In this Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011, by the Korea News Service, Kim Jong Un, center, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's youngest known son and successor, visits at

North Korea's leading state-run newspaper indicated Monday that Kim Jong Il's heir has assumed another top post.

The Communist Party's Rodong Sinmun referred to Kim Jong Un as leader of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, a post that gives Kim Jong Un power over one of the country's highest decision-making bodies.

In a dispatch late Saturday, the official Korean Central News Agency called General Kim the "supreme leader of the revolutionary armed forces."  Earlier Saturday, KCNA hailed Mr. Kim as "supreme commander" - the first use of that title, also used by his late father.

Kim Jong Un holds the military rank of a four-star general, despite having little military experience and being in his late 20s.

North Korea proclaimed the beginning of the Kim Jong Un era Thursday, describing him as the "successor" of the nation's revolutionary undertakings "and leader of its people."

An editorial in the Rodong Sinmun said Kim Jong Un should move forward on a path of self-reliance while continuing the teachings of Kim Jong Il.  It urged the nation to rally behind the young leader and faithfully uphold his leadership.

Kim Jong Il's death after 17 years in power has sparked regional and Western concerns about the future of a country with a large army, a history of deep animosity toward its southern neighbor, and holding broad nuclear ambitions.

In Seoul, President Lee Myung-bak told political leaders Thursday that the change of command in North Korea could result in increased flexibility in the two Koreas' relations.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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