May 10, 2016 10:01
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was given the title of chairman of the Workers Party at a congress that ended Monday.
The title was first awarded to nation founder Kim Il-sung in 1949 but abolished in 1966.
An intelligence official here said the move was clearly another attempt by Kim Jong-il to don his grandfather's mantle and bolster his shaky authority.
State television broadcast Kim Yong-nam, the perennial president of the Supreme People's Assembly, announcing Kim's new title at the closing of the congress. The party already declared at the beginning of the congress that Kim would rise "to the highest position."
Kim's original title as first secretary appears to have been scrapped.
A Unification Ministry official here said, "The titles may have changed, but they're fundamentally the same."
The congress also elected two new standing members for the politburo, Premier Pak Pong-ju and Choe Ryong-hae, a party secretary, in addition to Kim Jong-un, Kim Yong-nam and Army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so.
North Korea boasted ahead of the congress that it would unveil a "splendid blueprint" and hinted at the dawn of a "new golden age," but the actual political, economic and foreign polices announced at the congress were merely rehashed versions of existing policies and confirmed the enduring position of eight ancient apparatchiks who rose to power at the last congress 36 years ago.
Meanwhile, the North finally allowed 30 out of 120 invited foreign journalists into the congress venue after dragging them around tractor factories for three days. Until then, they had had to rely on late-night TV like everyone else.
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