North Korea gives current and former leaders new titles | News | DW | 11.04.2012
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North Korea gives current and former leaders new titles

North Korea has officially given a new post to its leader, Kim Jong-un, further elevating his position. His late father was also honored with a posthumous title.

North Korea has appointed its new leader, Kim Jong-un, as first secretary of the ruling Workers' Party - a title that appears to be a new top party post.

At the same time, it declared his father, the late leader Kim Jong-il, to be the party's "eternal" general secretary.

The announcements were made at a special party conference in Pyongyang, one of two political gatherings this week that are expected to formally install the young Kim as the country's supreme leader.

Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be 28, took over power from his father in December last year after the latter's death on December 17. He has already been officially appointed supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.

The Unha-3 rocket at its launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri

The rocket is to be launched from Tongchang-ri on the west coast

North Koreais currently celebrating the centennial of the birth of Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, who founded the country in 1948. In a rare move, select journalists and visitors from abroad have been invited for two weeks of celebrations in the otherwise secretive country.

The events come as North Korea announced the fuelling of a rocket that is to be launched on the 100th anniversary of Kim Il-sung's birth, April 15.

The planned launch has caused concern among many other nations, who fear it is a disguised test of an intercontinental rocket capable of carrying an atomic warhead. The United States, Japan and Britain, among others, see it as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs.

Pyongyangdenies this, saying the three-stage Unha-3 rocket will take an earth observation satellite into orbit.

tj/ncy (AP, AFP)