Nuclear-armed ‘Dear Comrade’ Kim Jong-Un gets another top job

by WorldTribune Staff, June 30, 2016

North Korea solidified Kim Jong-Un’s absolute grip on power by creating a supreme governing commission and naming the 33-year-old leader as its chairman.

The nuclear-armed country’s legislative body, the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), unanimously voted Kim as head of the State Affairs Commission on June 29, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. /Reuters/KCNA
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. /Reuters/KCNA

The leader’s full title is now the Dear Respected Comrade Kim Jong-Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army.

The State Affairs Commission replaces the National Defense Commission as Pyongyang’s highest branch of government and supreme policy-making organization.

SPA president Kim Yong-nam said it was the “unshakable faith and unswerving will of all service personnel and people of the country to uphold Kim Jong-Un … at the top post of the DPRK.”

Cheong Seong-Chang, a North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute think-tank in Seoul, said the new post effectively raised Kim Jong-Un to the post of supreme head of state.

“It’s commensurate with the title of ‘President of the Republic’ given to (his grandfather) Kim Il-Sung in 1972,” Cheong said on June 30.

Kim Il-Sung was declared North Korea’s “eternal president” following his death in 1994.

Kim Jong-Un has carefully crafted his appearance to resemble his grandfather as closely as possible and he has played it up in a clear attempt to co-opt Kim Il-Sung’s legacy, Cheong said.

The new position “also marks a further break” with the legacy of his father, Kim Jong-Il, who until his death in late 2011 had effectively ruled North Korea as chairman of the now defunct NDC.

“This marks a clear departure from the era of his father,” said Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

“And, by making himself the head of an umbrella commission with control over the military, party and government, Kim Jong-Un has become supreme leader in both name and reality,”