A look at key appointments in NKorea

April 12, 2012 - 6:46 AM
North Korea

In this April 11, 2012 image made from KRT video, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un applauds as he attends a conference of the ruling Worker's Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim has been named to fill two key party posts previously held by his late father Kim Jong Il. State media says Kim Jong Un is now chairman of the ruling party's Central Military Commission and a standing member of the Political Bureau. (AP Photo/KRT via AP video) NORTH KOREA OUT, TV OUT

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea has showered Kim Jong Un and other senior officials — including his late father, Kim Jong Il — with a slew of appointments and promotions meant to strengthen the new leader.

The high-level reshuffle also put somewhat younger officials in top ruling party posts normally taken by men in their 70s and 80s. Analysts say the moves will help Kim Jong Un further cement his rule.

Here's a look at important appointments made during a Workers' Party conference Wednesday in Pyongyang:

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Kim Jong Il: Kim, who died of a heart attack in December following 17 years of rule, was granted the posthumous title of "eternal general secretary" of the party. This is similar to what happened with Kim Jong Il's own father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, who was made "eternal president" after his 1994 death.

Kim Jong Il also followed in his father's footsteps by receiving a posthumous reference as "eternal suryong" in the ruling party's constitution, which was revised this week. Suryong is one of the highest titles North Korea can bestow on its leader; it was reserved only for Kim Il Sung before Wednesday's conference.

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Kim Jong Un: Kim was named first secretary of the party, a post that is newly created and that analysts believe is now the top Workers' Party job.

Kim also inherited other party posts held by his father, including chairman of the Central Military Commission, which formulates the party's military policies. He also became a member of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee, and joined the politburo's five-member Presidium, a high-level decision-making body. He could receive more posts during a Supreme People's Assembly meeting on Friday.

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Choe Ryong Hae: Choe, 62, is considered a rising star. He also was given a place on the Political Bureau's Presidium and named a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

It's rare for a person in his early 60s to get a top job in the Political Bureau. Its members are usually older.

Choe, who was also made a vice marshal earlier this week, has served as the military's chief political officer since earlier this month, according to state media.

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Kim Jong Gak: Kim, who was recently named North Korea's new defense minister, was named a member of the Political Bureau.

Kim, 70, was among seven men who accompanied Kim Jong Un as he walked alongside a limousine bearing Kim Jong Il's coffin during the late leader's December funeral. He formerly served as a top political officer of the Korean People's Army.

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Kim Won Hong: Kim, a senior military officer who frequently accompanied Kim Jong Un on inspection trips this year, was named a member of the Political Bureau. State media said Kim, 66, has served as minister of State Security since earlier this month.

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Jang Song Thaek: Jang, a vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, was named a member of the Political Bureau. The 66-year-old Soviet-trained technocrat is Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law.

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Kim Kyong Hui: Kim, 66, is Kim Jong Un's aunt and is married to Jang. She was named a secretary of the party's Central Committee.