Kim Jong Un Appointed “First Secretary” of Korean Workers’ Party

11 Apr

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) visits Kumsusan Memorial Palace with members of the DPRK central leadership and participants of the 4th Workers' Party Conference on 11 April 2012 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

DPRK state media reports that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was appointed 1st Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party during its 4th Party Conference held 11 April (Wednesday).  The position substitutes that of General-Secretary, as the leading official of the KWP Central Committee’s Secretariat; the title of “Eternal General Secretary” was given to Kim Jong Un’s father and the country’s deceased supreme leader, Kim Jong Il.  KCNA reports:

The Fourth Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea elected the dear respected Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of the WPK and people of the DPRK, as first secretary of the WPK, true to the behest of leader Kim Jong Il.

The Conference solemnly declared internally and externally that Kim Jong Un was elected first secretary of the WPK, reflecting the unanimous wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and all other people.

All the participants paid highest tribute and extended warmest congratulations to him, loudly shouting “Hurrah!” with immense excitement, joy and profound respect.

His election as first secretary of the WPK is an expression of absolute support for and trust in the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army by all party members, servicepersons and other people. He has developed the revolutionary idea of the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu to glorify it as Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism with his gifted wisdom and through energetic ideological and theoretical activities and put forth unique ideas and theories of the revolution and construction and all other fields including politics, military affairs, economy and culture and successfully materialized them, thus making outstanding contributions to the Juche-based army building through his energetic Songun leadership.

It also marks a great political event that demonstrates to the full the unshakable will of the army and people of the DPRK to fully preserve and glorify the immortal revolutionary exploits of Kim Jong Il and accomplish generation after generation the revolutionary cause of Juche, the Songun revolutionary cause started in Mt. Paektu, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.

Only victory and glory will always be in store for the army and people of the DPRK advancing under the guidance of the WPK headed by Kim Jong Un and the party and country holding the great sun in high esteem will shine more brilliantly along with the new century of Kim Il Sung’s Korea.

According to DPRK state media, the 4th Party Conference consisted of the following agenda:

The Fourth Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held here Wednesday.

Present there was the dear respected Kim Jong Un.

The Conference decided on the following agenda items:

- On holding leader Kim Jong Il as eternal general secretary of the WPK and glorifying his revolutionary career and undying revolutionary feats for all ages

- On revising WPK rules

- On holding the dear respected Kim Jong Un in high esteem at the top post of the party, true to the behest of leader Kim Jong Il

- On organizational matter.

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.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) Fourth Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) endorsed Kim Jong Il as the party’s eternal general secretary and Kim Jong Un as first secretary, the official KCNA news agency reported Wednesday.

The election of Kim Jong Un “at the top post of the party” reflects “the unanimous wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and all other people,” and is in line with the will of late leader Kim Jong Il, KCNA said.

The conference also revised WPK rules and organizational matters.

Kim Jong Un, together with the conference participants, paid high tribute to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the newly built Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.

During the WPK’s third conference on Sept. 28, 2010, Kim Jong Il was re-elected as the party’s general secretary, while Kim Jong Un was appointed vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission.

The WPK’s sixth congress was held in October 1980 and it has yet to convene its seventh. The WPK Central Committee can call party conferences between its congresses.

The conference “decided to hold Kim Jong-Il, the great leader of the WPK and the Korean people, in high esteem as eternal general secretary”, the news agency said.

The decision was based on “the unanimous will and desire of all the party members and other people”.

Jong-Un’s new post was in line with his father’s wishes, the agency said.

“All the participants paid highest tribute and extended warmest congratulations to him, loudly shouting ‘Hurrah!’ with immense excitement, joy and profound respect,” it added.

His election was an expression of absolute support and trust, the agency said.

Paik Hak-Soon of South Korea’s Sejong Institute said the regime created the new title to help the young leader control the party while continuing the legacy of his father.

Paik stressed the decision to leave the highest post permanently for the late leader did not indicate any weakening of Jong-Un’s leadership.

“It’s rather a smart move… to highlight Jong-Un’s loyalty and love for his father and thus further legitimise his status as the latest protege of the ruling Kim dynasty,” he told AFP.

Kim Jong-Il declared his own father and founding president Kim Il-Sung as the “eternal president” after Kim Il-Sung’s death in 1994.

State TV showed Jong-Un and top party and military cadres visit Wednesday the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the capital Pyongyang, where the two former leaders’ embalmed bodies are placed, to pay tribute.

Jong-Un, dressed in black Mao suit, was seen bowing to smiling portraits of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, along with dozens of officials including his aunt and four-star general Kim Kyong-Hui and military chief Ri Yong-Ho.

Pyongyang is to hold an annual session of its rubber-stamp parliament on Friday.

Some analysts say the meeting will likely elevate Jong-Un to chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC), the country’s top decision-making body. The post was previously filled by his father.

“Having already left the chief party post reserved forever for his father, I think Jong-Un will likely assume the NDC chairmanship,” said Paik, adding the young leader will be fully in power whether he takes the NDC post or not.

Kim Jong Un’s formal ascension, nearly four months after the death of his father, comes during a week of events leading up to celebrations Sunday marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, late President Kim Il Sung.

The centennial is a major milestone in the nation Kim Il Sung founded in 1948, and the streets were awash with new posters, banners and the national flag. Outside the city’s war museum and the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, women in traditional Korean dress gathered in clusters, practicing for this week’s events.

North Korea has thrown open its doors to dozens of journalists from around the world to report on the events this week designed not only to honor Kim Il Sung but also to demonstrate unity as Kim Jong Un takes power.

One of the marquee events is a satellite launch poised to take place as early as Thursday that has raised international concern.

Space officials call the launch of the Unha-3 rocket, mounted with an Earth observation satellite, a “gift” to Kim Il Sung. They said Wednesday that the final step of injecting fuel into the three-stage rocket was under way in the coastal hamlet of Tongchang-ri.

“The launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite is the pride of our nation and of our people,” Rim Kwang Myong, a mathematics major at Kim Il Sung University, told The Associated Press.

A live feed at the General Command Center in the outskirts of Pyongyang showed the rocket on the launch pad covered with a tarp to protect the satellite from the wind.

Paek Chang Ho, chief of the command center, said the rocket is ready for liftoff as soon as engineers are given the green light. North Korea has informed international aviation, maritime and telecommunications authorities that the launch would take place between Thursday and Monday.

“We are injecting fuel as we speak,” Paek told reporters from a viewing platform in front of a large screen showing the live feed. Sixteen scientists in white lab coats worked at computers below him.

Because liquid rocket fuel is highly volatile and corrosive, its injection into the rocket is usually one of the final steps in the pre-launch process, experts say. But the weather, and particularly the wind, could force delays.

The United States, Japan, Britain and others say the launch would constitute a provocation and would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs.

Experts say the Unha-3 carrier is similar to the type of rocket that could be used to fire a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead to strike the U.S. or other targets.

The 4th Party Conference also appointed new members or filled vacancies to the organizations under the KWP Central Committee.  Choe Ryong Hae, promoted to KPA Vice Marshal on Saturday (7 April), was elevated to the Political Bureau Presidium (standing committee) and appointed Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission.  Promoted from alternate (candidate) members to full (regular) members of the Political Bureau were: Jang Song Taek (NDC Vice Chairman and Kim Jong Un’s uncle) Pak To Chun (Party Secretary for Military Industries and NDC Member) and VMar Kim Jong Gak (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and NDC Member).  VMar Hyon Chol Hae, Gen. Kim Won Hong and Gen. Ri Myong Su (Minister of People’s Security) were elected full members of the Political Bureau, while Gen. O Kuk Ryol (NDC Vice Chairman), Ro Tu Chol (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission), Kwak Pom Gi, Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (Political Director of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces) and Jo Yon Jun were elected alternate members of the Political Bureau.

Kim Kyong Hui, sister and close political confidante and operative of Kim Jong Il and the wife of Jang Song Taek, was elected to the Secretariat (i.e. party secretary).  Kwak Pom Gi, a former DPRK Vice Premier and previously chief party secretary in South Hamgyo’ng Province, was also elected to the Secretariat.  Mr. Kwak was also appointed a department director of the KWP Central Committee.  Also appointed as department directors were VMar Kim Yong Chun and Pak Pong Ju.  Until early this week, VMar Kim served as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.  Mr. Pak served as DPRK Premier (prime minister) from 2003 to 2007.  After his removal from office, he was appointed managing director of a light industry factory where he worked until he was recalled to Pyongyang in 2010, where he served as a deputy (vice) party department director.  On the Party Central Military Commission, VMar Hyon Chol Hae, Gen. Ri Myong Su and Kim Rak Gyom were elected as new members.  The Party Central Auditing Commission also received new membership, but current DPRK media reporting has not disclosed who those members are.  KCNA reports:

Members of the party central guidance body were elected to fill vacancies, elected and appointed at the 4th Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Choe Ryong Hae was elected member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee,

Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong and Ri Myong Su members of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee,

Kwak Pom Gi, O Kuk Ryol, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun alternate members of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee to fill vacancies.

Kim Kyong Hui and Kwak Pom Gi were elected secretaries of the Party Central Committee.

Choe Ryong Hae was elected vice-chairman of the Party Central Military Commission and Hyon Chol Hae, Ri Myong Su and Kim Rak Gyom were elected members of the Party Central Military Commission to fill vacancies.

Members and alternate members of the Party Central Committee were elected to fill vacancies.

Kim Yong Chun, Kwak Pom Gi and Pak Pong Ju were appointed as department directors of the Party Central Committee.

Members of the Party Central Auditing Commission were elected to fill vacancies.

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2 Responses to “Kim Jong Un Appointed “First Secretary” of Korean Workers’ Party”

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  1. North Korean Economy Watch » Blog Archive » Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) 4th Delegates’ Conference - 04/16/2012

    […] Here is the report on North Korea Leadership Watch. […]

  2. KPA Brass’ Promotion and Demotion | Korea Watch - 06/16/2012

    […] later elected a member of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Military Commission [CMC] during the 4th Party Conference on 11 April 2012.  The SRFC was first mentioned in DPRK state media report on 2 March 2012 when Kim Jong Un (Kim […]

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