Top U.S. envoy urges N. Korea to release detained Americans

Kim ‘reelected’ as chief of N.K.’s powerful defense body

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Published : 2014-04-09 20:58
Updated : 2014-04-09 20:58

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “reelected” as head of the country’s most powerful body at a parliamentary session Wednesday, which experts said may offer a glimpse into its leadership reconfiguration in the wake of the execution of his influential uncle.

The Supreme People’s Assembly meeting came about a month after the election under the young ruler of a new roster of deputies for the rubber-stamp parliament, including Kim Jong-un and other 686 military and party officials who all won unanimous approval.

Kim became chairman of the potent National Defense Commission at a session in April 2012. 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Yonhap)

During the latest meeting, all the deputies and participants “broke into stormy cheers of ‘hurrah!’ extending the highest glory and warmest congratulations to him,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.

This marked an “expression of the absolute support and trust of all service personnel and people in him,” it added.

On Tuesday, Kim presided over a meeting of the political bureau of the ruling Workers’ Party, which discussed “party organization and other key issues,” state media said.

Though the assembly’s main function is to legitimize the party line and policy, the gathering could give an indication of the ebb and flow within the North Korean power elite in the aftermath of the December death of Jang Song-thaek, who was once considered the communist state’s second-most powerful man as Kim’s uncle and vice chairman of the defense body.

The Kim regime appears to have since been reshuffling its top brass to consolidate his grip, appointing new coal industry and metal industry ministers and other key aides.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)

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