News / Asia

North Korea Officially Names Kim Jong Un Supreme Commander

In this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, presides over a national memorial service for his late father Kim Jong Il at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. Flanking him are Kim Yong Nam, president o
In this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, presides over a national memorial service for his late father Kim Jong Il at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. Flanking him are Kim Yong Nam, president o

North Korea has officially named Kim Jong Un as supreme commander of the country's military forces, affirming his authority after his father's death.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency made the announcement Saturday.  It said Kim Jong Il's son and successor was given the title at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party.   

Mr. Kim who is in his late 20s has received a string of leadership titles from the government and state media in the wake of Kim Jong Il's death December 17, but few of them were official appointments.

The state-run media say Mr. Kim was made the supreme commander of the 1.2 million-strong military according to his father Kim Jong Il's wish expressed October 8.   Last year, Kim Jong Il promoted his son to a four-star general and also gave him the vice-chairmanship of the ruling party's central military commission.

The death of North Korea's strongman as well as reports of his illness a few years ago sparked speculations about possible changes in the communist country.  But during the funeral ceremonies Wednesday and Thursday, North Korea's top officials appeared to rally around Kim Jong Un.  

And Friday, North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission said that there would be no policy changes under young Mr. Kim.  In a televised message the commission stressed there would be no softening toward South Korea's government after Kim Jong Il's death.

"We declare solemnly and confidently that the foolish politicians around the world, including the puppet group in South Korea, should not expect any change from us," said a KRT news reader.

The statement declared that the country would never deal with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, a conservative, who has pursued a hard-line stance against the Stalinist North.  

In Seoul, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Choi Boh-seon told reporters the Korean peninsula was now in a state of "growing mobility" after Mr. Kim's death.

"As North Korea's top leader died, the mobility in the Korean Peninsula's situation has heightened," he said. "The South Korean Unification Ministry's main focus next year is to closely monitor situation changes, and to deal with any changes flexibly, promptly and with initiative, based on our policies."

The funeral ceremony Thursday ended North Korea's period of mourning.  Witnesses say trade, traffic and boat tourism between the North and the Chinese border city of Dandong returned to normal Friday.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs