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North Korea Officially Opens `Kim Jong Un` Era

Posted September. 29, 2010 16:04,   


North Korea has officially publicized the handover of power to the third generation of the Kim Jong Il family by introducing his youngest son Jong Un as successor and general of the (North) Korean People`s Army.

The North`s official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that Kim Jong Il named Jong Un a major general. The ruling Workers` Party opened Tuesday its third party convention, its biggest political meeting in 30 years since the sixth party assembly in 1980, and reappointed Kim Jong Il as the party`s general secretary.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, Kim Jong Il was reported to have given "Order No. 0051," which elevated the titles of Korean People’s Army commanders. “The order reads that the upgraded military title of general is awarded to six people, including Kim Kyoung Hui, Kim Jong Un and Choe Ryong Hae," the report said.

Those promoted to the rank of general were Kim Jong Il’s younger sister Kyoung Hui, who is in charge of the party’s light industry affairs; Choe, former party chief secretary for North Hwanghae Province; Hyon Yong Chol, chief of the 8th Army (lieutenant general) of the Korean People’s Army; Choe Pu Il, vice chief of staff of the army; and Kim Kyong Ok, first vice chief of the party’s organizational division.

Army chief of staff Ri Yong Ho was promoted to vice marshal.

This is the first time for Kim Jong Un’s name to be listed in an official announcement by North Korea. His appointment as a general is a public announcement of his designation as successor to the third generation of his family, and heralds Kim Jong Il`s plan to give his son a key post at the Workers’ Party convention.

The North’s Korean Central TV and Korean Central Broadcasting issued a "momentous announcement" at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The report said, “The Korean Workers’ Party convention solemnly announced in and outside of the country that it honorably appointed compatriot Kim Jong Il as party general secretary in light of the unanimous will of all party members, Korean People’s Army soldiers, and the people across the nation."

North Korean media, however, failed to mention if Kim Jong Il attended the convention and what other decisions were made in addition to his reappointment as general secretary.

Lee Ki-dong, senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul, said, “By making these decisions today, the North simultaneously conducted an official announcement of the reinforcement of the Kim Jong Il regime and a power transfer to the third generation of the Kim family.”

“The move is a plot to inherit the regime after strengthening the Kim Jong Il-only system through his reappointment as party general secretary.”

A source from the South Korean Unification Ministry said, “The question now is whether Kim Jong Un will assume a key post at the party’s upcoming convention.”

will71@donga.com kyle@donga.com