Title a symbolic move to show leader in control
North Korea’s ruling party is preparing to bestow its top title on leader Kim Jong Un, another sign that he is firmly in control despite his country’s deepening international isolation over his drive to keep developing more and better nuclear weapons.
The decision to formally install - or perhaps simply reinstall - Kim at the top is a step along the lines of his late father and grandfather, who held the title of general secretary of the Workers’ Party and is a symbolic move to demonstrate the young leader is ready to begin a new era of his own.
Kim is already head of the party, but with the title of first secretary. His father, Kim Jong Il, holds the posthumous title of ‘eternal general secretary’ and his grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung, is ‘eternal president’.
Kim opened the lavish Workers’ Party congress on Friday singling the North’s advances in nuclear weapons and rockets capable of putting satellites into orbit, as examples of the country’s progress in the face of international criticism and tough sanctions.
The gathering is a major milestone for the young North Korean leader, who was not yet born when the previous congress was held in 1980.
Kim called the congress a “historic” milestone in the face of “all manner of threats and challenges by the imperialists”. He said it would “put forward the strategic line and tasks to keep ushering in a great golden age of socialist construction”.
The reference to what the North claims was a successful hydrogen bomb test in January brought a standing ovation from the more than 3,400 delegates.
IN CHARGE: North Korea leader Kim Jong Un