Kim appointed general secretary of North Korea’s only political party

(Update 1: updates with possible military parade in last 4 pars)

Seoul, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been appointed general secretary of the Workers’ Party during the congress being held in Pyongyang, the state news agency KCNA reported Monday.

The appointment was made on the sixth day of the event on Sunday when the general secretariat, which was eliminated during the last congress in May 2016, and in which Kim was appointed president of the Workers’ Party, was restored.

The leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, was not included in the list of alternate members of the party’s political bureau.

In turn, Jo Yong-won, deputy director of the country’s only party’s powerful Organization and Guidance Department and considered one of the closest aides to the leader, was elected a member of the standing committee of the political bureau, the main decision-making body, replacing Pak Pong-ju.

Jo thus becomes one of the five most powerful figures at the top of the regime along with the four other members: Kim, Choi Ryong-hae, Ri Pyong-chol and Kim Tok- hun.

In addition to the revision of the organization chart, the eighth congress of the Workers’ Party, the celebration of which this year has been surrounded by great secrecy on the part of the regime, aims to establish a new five-year plan to stimulate the ailing North Korean economy.

During the event, Kim also warned that the United States remains the main enemy of the regime and indirectly urged the incoming government of Joe Biden to propose new alternatives to resume the dialog on denuclearization, warning that the North Korean army is preparing new weapons tests.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement on Monday that it has detected signs that the North held a military parade “related to the party congress” at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang late Sunday.

The South Korean and US military authorities are closely monitoring the situation and do not rule out “possibilities that the activity could be a rehearsal,” the statement added.

Satellite images in recent weeks have shown preparations for a parade that could be held at the end of the congress, as had happened during the 2016 event.

North Korean media have said that congress, the most important political event in the country, will conclude Monday. EFE-EPA


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