Weekend Reads North Korea: Kim elected general secretary of the ruling party

10:40  11 january  2021
10:40  11 january  2021 Source:   lepoint.fr

Kim thanks the North Koreans for their support in these "difficult times"

 Kim thanks the North Koreans for their support in these © STR New Year celebrations at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, December 31, 2020 Leader Kim Jong Un thanked the North -Koreans for their support in these "difficult times" in a handwritten letter published Friday on the occasion of the New Year and a few days before an important congress of the ruling party intended to set the country's economic objectives.

  Corée du Nord: Kim élu secrétaire général du parti au pouvoir © Provided by Le Point

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was elected general secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of which he was until now the president, a symbolic name change that aims to strengthen his power, analysts say.

The country, hard hit by international sanctions and more isolated than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, is in the grip of immense economic difficulties.

The North Korean leader was elected "unanimously" secretary general of the party on Sunday, the official North Korean news agency KCNA reported.

Five years ago, at the last Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), Mr. Kim was elected party chairman.

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This had been analyzed as an opportunity to consolidate the stature of the leader, who had inherited power upon the death of his father in December 2011.

The 8th Congress, which opened on January 5 in Pyongyang, re-established a secretariat - discontinued in 2016 - and changed the job titles accordingly.

"All the delegates expressed their full support with a round of applause," KCNA said.

This change of title comes as Mr. Kim pledged Wednesday to strengthen the defense capabilities of the country, already a nuclear power. In a provocative statement, he also claimed that the United States is his country's "greatest enemy".

"New image"

At the same time, this congress was an opportunity for him to observe the failure of his economic policy, admitting that "almost all sectors" had not achieved their objectives.

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According to experts, these new titles and functions have a largely symbolic significance.

C '"is another indirect way of admitting that the plans introduced in 2016 - including the new president system - didn't really work," commented Ahn Chan-il, a North Korean defector turned researcher. at the World Institute for North Korean Studies, based in Seoul.

"Mr. Kim wanted to shape a new image (...) different from that of his father - by becoming a + president + - but it seems that he feels the need to emphasize his bond with his father to consolidate his leadership in these difficult times, ”he explained.

Mr. Kim's father, Kim Jong Il , who died in 2011, remained eternal secretary general of the party, while his grandfather, Kim Il Sung , founder of North Korea and died in 1994, is the eternal president of the country.

High mass of the party in power, the congress is intended to strengthen the authority of the regime and to announce changes in political orientations or in the choice of the elites.

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Military parade?

A new political office has also been appointed, which does not include Kim Yo Jong, younger sister and adviser to Mr. Kim.

She does not appear on the lists of persons appointed to the central committee of the party, of which she was until then a substitute member, which seems to constitute a setback for the one who had succeeded in establishing herself as one of the most important personalities. powerful forces of the reclusive regime.

Analysts say North Korea has used this Congress to send a message of defiance to future US President Joe Biden, while being cautious after a tumultuous relationship between Mr. Kim and Donald Trump, the outgoing president.

This congress would also have been the occasion for Pyongyang to organize a military parade.

The South Korean army claimed to have detected signs suggesting that such a parade took place on Sunday evening. However, she was not in a position to say whether it was "the event itself or a rehearsal".

In October, a huge parade was organized to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party. A giant intercontinental ballistic missile had been unveiled.

In his New Year's address on Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who played a crucial role in the negotiation process between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump, said Seoul would capitalize on the change in administration in Washington to achieve "a great turnaround" in the inter-Korean negotiations and between Washington and Pyongyang which are at an impasse. "

11/01/2021 07:52:40 - Seoul (AFP) - © 2021 AFP

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North Korea has once again hosted a big gun show. The self-declared nuclear power has also presented a new weapon at the military parade under the night sky. © dpa On Thursday evening, a military parade took place in Pyongyang. At the army show on Thursday evening (local time) in Pyongyang, ballistic missiles that can be fired from a submarine were also demonstrated, the state-controlled media reported on Friday.

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