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Late Korean Leader Earns Posthumous Promotion

The delegates to the fourth Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea visit Mangyongdae, the birthplace of North Korea's founder Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang April 10, 2012 in this picture released by the North's KCNA, April 11, 2012.
The delegates to the fourth Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea visit Mangyongdae, the birthplace of North Korea's founder Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang April 10, 2012 in this picture released by the North's KCNA, April 11, 2012.

North Korea communists have promoted their late leader and his son to top posts in the country's only political party.

Kim Jong Il, whose death was announced nearly five months ago, was deemed "eternal general secretary" of the Workers' Party of Korea. His son and political heir, Kim Jong Un, according to an announcement on the Pyongyang Central Broadcasting Station, is now the party's “first secretary” in accordance with the wishes of his late father.

The announcer says the party meeting, with the confidence of the military and citizens, declared the new post for Kim Jong Un who has been prepared from an early age to achieve his great leadership and moral influence.

A veteran watcher of the North Korean succession process, professor Chung Myung-chul at South Korea's Sogang University tells VOA there is no doubt now who is really going to be in charge.

Chung says even though the younger Kim did not get the general secretary post, he has become for all practical purposes the party's top officer.  And with Kim Jong Il as eternal general secretary, his son can demonstrate his loyalty to his late father.

Kim Jong Un's grandfather, North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, was declared the country's “eternal president” in 1998, four years after his death.

During the convening of the rare, special party conference in Pyongyang, it was announced that fueling was underway of a multi-stage rocket for North Korea's self-proclaimed “space launch.”

The reclusive and impoverished nation is poised to make its third attempt to put a satellite into orbit. The plans have been condemned by the international community as a violation of U.N. sanctions prohibiting North Korea from utilizing ballistic-missile technology.  




Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

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