North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been awarded the title of general secretary of the North Korean Workers’ Party, the state-run KCNA news agency, KCNA reported on Monday.
The nomination was unanimously confirmed at the Eighth North Korean one-party congress in Pyongyang. The title of secretary general was abandoned at the previous congress in May 2016, the year Kim Jong-un was elected president of the party.
Analysts say the name change is purely symbolic and aims to strengthen the authority of the North Korean leader.
Deputy Director of the Party’s Organization and Management Department, Jo Yong-won, considered one of the North Korean leader’s closest people, has become one of the five most powerful figures at the top of the regime, including, in addition to Kim Jong-un, Choi Ryong-hae, Ri Pyong-chol and Kim Tok-hun are also part of it.
It was also decided to hold party congresses every five years. Until today, these events took place at random intervals, but the country’s leader had recently expressed his intention to convene meetings regularly.
Kim took over the country after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. Some observers have questioned his ability to stay in power. However, the leader, who celebrated his 37th birthday last Friday (8), managed to consolidate his power little by little, eliminating or purging his potential opponents.
Since taking command of North Korea, Kim has also held a number of high-level positions, such as chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and has become the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the country, with a contingent of 1.2 million soldiers.
Uncertainties Over Kim’s Powerful Sister Role
He drew attention at the current one-party convention that Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, was not included in the new politburo list, which sparked speculation about her current status after becoming one of the most influential people in the country in recent years.
However, she is still a member of the Workers’ Party Central Committee. His absence from the politburo, the party’s executive committee, was revealed days after first occupying the party leadership podium, along with 38 other leaders, at the start of the congress.
Analysts say it is too early to say whether or not it has lost its influence over the party administration. Many, however, claim that the absence of her name on the politburo roster doesn’t mean she has less power, as she is known to prefer acting behind the scenes.
Nuclear rhetoric in the foreground
At the one-party congress on Saturday, the North Korean leader defined the United States as his “greatest enemy” and promised to strengthen the country’s nuclear arsenal. The dictator spoke of the need to “impose himself” on the United States, which defined it as “the main obstacle to the development of the revolution”, according to KCNA, and he demanded that Washington stop its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang.
Referring to Joe Biden’s impending inauguration as US president, Kim asserted that US policy does not change “regardless of power”, called on Washington to withdraw international sanctions against his country and defended the necessity to “constantly strengthen the most powerful deterrent”. to protect North Korea, citing the country’s nuclear weapons program.
Kim ordered that a more advanced nuclear weapon system be developed with various warheads, nuclear missiles that can be launched underwater, spy satellites and nuclear submarines.
Kim announced that plans for a nuclear-powered submarine had already been completed and that plans were in “the review phase.”