North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was reelected as first chairman of the country's most powerful National Defense Commission on Wednesday, the state news agency said, an expected move that could help further cement his grip on power.
The election was made in the first session of the North's newly elected rubber-stamp parliament as all the deputies and participants in the session "broke into stormy cheers of 'hurrah!'" the Korean Central News Agency said.
His election is "the great jubilee in the nation's history" the KCNA said in a dispatch.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at a party meeting in Pyongyang on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
The parliamentary nomination is widely seen as a formality in a country where Kim exerts absolute power he inherited upon the death of his father and long-time leader Kim Jong-il in 2011.
The latest move came a month after Kim was elected to the Supreme People's Assembly in uncontested nationwide elections along with 686 deputies, including those who were considered close to Kim's once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek.
The predetermined election results indicated that Kim is confident enough not to worry about any backlash from the execution of Jang in December on charges of treason.
The parliament is also expected to name new commission members following the execution of Jang, a vice chairman of the commission.
Although the assembly is a rubber-stamp body, it is widely seen as a who's who of the government, the party and the military that form the backbone of the communist leadership.
The North's single-chamber legislature meets once or twice a year to approve government budgets and review important state policies.
The session is also closely watched by officials and analysts in South Korea and other regional powers as it comes after North Korea threatened to carry out a "new form" of nuclear test.
The North has a track record of carrying out nuclear tests within a month after its foreign ministry issues a statement in anger over a U.N. condemnation of its long-range missile or rocket launches.
On Tuesday, Kim set forth important tasks to further strengthen the party and protect the dignity and sovereignty of the country as he presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, the KCNA reported.
"The meeting discussed the issue of reinforcing the organization for increasing the leadership role and function of the Party," the KCNA said early Wednesday in a dispatch.
Participants also unanimously adopted decisions on the relevant agenda items after discussing a proposal on forming the state leadership body to be submitted to the parliamentary session, the dispatch said. (Yonhap)