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NKorea's Kim solidifies power with top party posts

April 12, 2012 • World News


A North Korean man looks down from a balcony at North Korea’s space agency’s General Launch Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Engineers are pumping fuel into a rocket that is set to carry a satellite into space, officials at the North Korean space agency’s central command center said Wednesday, showing reporters a live feed of the west coast launch pad. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea was poised Thursday to send a rocket into space as the nation’s young leader ascended to new top political posts strengthening his hold on power.

There was no word early Thursday morning on the timing of the launch, which the North has said will take place sometime between Thursday and Monday. The launch, which the North says is for peaceful purposes, has raised international concern.

The nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was named first secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, a newly created post. He also succeeded his late father as chairman of the Central Military Commission, which formulates the party’s military policies, and was elevated to standing member of the powerful Political Bureau, the party’s highest-level decision-making body.

Late longtime leader Kim Jong Il, meanwhile, was granted the posthumous title of “eternal general secretary” at the special one-day party conference Wednesday.

Kim Jong Un’s formal ascension to top party posts, nearly four months after his father’s death, comes during a week of events leading up to celebrations Sunday marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, late President Kim Il Sung.

The centennial is a major milestone in the nation Kim Il Sung founded in 1948, and the streets of the capital, Pyongyang, were awash with new posters, banners and the national flag. Outside the city’s war museum and the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, women in traditional Korean dress gathered in clusters, practicing for Login to read more

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