Pyongyang: North Korea's ruling-party congress on Monday announced a new title for Kim Jong Un, party chairman, in a move that highlights how the authoritarian country's first congress in 36 years is aimed at bolstering the young leader.
The news emerged Monday during the roughly 10 minutes that a small group of foreign media was allowed the watch the congress in the ornate 25 April House of Culture.
As a military band in full uniform played the welcoming song used whenever North Korea's leader enters a public place, Kim strode onto the stage, generating a long loud standing ovation from the several thousand delegates attending.
In unison the delegates shouted, "Mansae! Mansae!" wishing Kim long life.
He and other senior party members took their seats, filling several rows on a stage, below portraits of Kim's grandfather, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and father, Kim Jong Il, the walls decked with banners of red with the ruling party's hammer sickle and pen logo embossed in gold. Kim Yong Nam, the head of the North's Parliament, stood to read a roster of top party positions — calling Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea for the first time.
Kim had already been head of the party, but with the title of first secretary.
His predecessors keep their posthumous titles. Kim Jong Il remains "eternal general secretary" and Kim Il Sung is still "eternal president."
The congress, which began on Friday, has tout Kim's successes on the nuclear front and promised economic improvements to boost the nation's standard of living. Mostly, however, the congress has put Kim himself front and center in the eyes of the people and the party as the country's sole leader.
Published Date: May 09, 2016 06:00 pm | Updated Date: May 09, 2016 06:03 pm