Kim Jong Un named as top political official
BY Associated Press
Thursday, April 12, 2012
4/12/12 at 5:25 AM
North Korea fueled up a rocket Wednesday in preparation for what appeared to be an imminent liftoff while the country's young leader strengthened his power by being named to fill two key party posts previously held by his father.
State media said Kim Jong Un is now chairman of the ruling party's Central Military Commission and a standing member of the Political Bureau.
Kim was also named to the new post of first secretary of the ruling Workers' Party at a special conference, making him the nation's top political official. His late father, longtime leader Kim Jong Il, was given the posthumous title of "eternal general secretary," the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim Jong Un's formal ascension, nearly four months after the death of his father, comes during a week of events leading to celebrations Sunday marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, late President Kim Il Sung.
The centennial is a major milestone in the nation Kim Il Sung founded in 1948, and the streets were awash with new posters, banners and the national flag.
North Korea has thrown open its doors to journalists from around the world to report on the events this week designed not only to honor Kim Il Sung but also to demonstrate unity as Kim Jong Un takes power.
One of the events is a satellite launch poised to take place as early as Thursday that has raised international concern.
Space officials call the launch of the Unha-3 rocket, mounted with an Earth observation satellite, a "gift" to Kim Il Sung. They said that the final step of injecting fuel into the rocket was under way in the hamlet of Tongchang-ri.
Paek Chang Ho, chief of the command center, said the rocket is ready for liftoff as soon as engineers are given the green light. North Korea has informed international aviation, maritime and telecommunications authorities that the launch would take place between Thursday and Monday.
Original Print Headline: Kim Jong Un gets new posts
North Korean technicians man computer terminals at North Korea's space agency's General Launch Command Center on Wednesday. DAVID GUTTENFELDER/AP