PYONGYANG — North Korea on Monday wrapped up its first ruling party congress for 36 years — an event seen as a formal coronation for leader Kim Jong-Un, who was appointed to the post of party chairman.
The congress, which opened on Friday, has given 33-year-old Kim a podium to secure his status as rightful inheritor of the one-party state founded by his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, who also held the title of party chairman.
Thousands of delegates clapped and cheered enthusiastically as the country`s official head of state, Kim Yong-Nam, announced the new title which cements Kim`s status as the isolated state`s supreme ruler.
For the first time since they arrived last week, foreign journalists were allowed a rare glimpse inside the delegate hall, which was festooned in red and gold banners carrying the party`s logo.
Serious-looking men, and the occasional woman, dressed in sombre suits and servicemen weighed down by chests-full of medals filled row after row of red seats in the cavernous hall.
“Kim`s new position makes it very clear that the whole party meeting is only aimed at solidifying his legitimacy as the new leader,” said Koh Young-Hwan, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 1991.
Koh, who is now vice head of the South`s state-run Institute for National Security Strategy, said the rarity of the party congress conferred real authority on the new role.
As well as raising Kim to the post of party chairman, the congress formally endorsed his legacy ‘byungjin’ doctrine of twin economic and nuclear development.
Delegates on Sunday unanimously adopted Kim`s working report on the party, which stressed the need to strengthen the North`s nuclear arsenal “both in quality and quantity”.
North Korea has carried out two of its four nuclear tests under Kim`s leadership, most recently in January when it claimed to have tried out a powerful hydrogen bomb — a claim experts have disputed.
The congress also enshrined a policy of not using nuclear weapons unless the country is attacked by another nuclear power, and of working towards reunification of the divided Korean peninsula. “But if the South Korean authorities opt for a war… we will turn out in the just war to mercilessly wipe out the anti-reunification forces,” said the report adopted by the North Korean delegates.
Kim was not even born when the last party congress was held in 1980 to crown his father, Kim Jong-Il, as the heir apparent to founding leader Kim Il-Sung.
When his own turn came, following the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, the new young leader quickly set about shoring up his power base.
1 killed, 2 injured in Dhading truck mishap
DHADING — One person was killed while two other seriously injured when a truck fell from Hugdi Khola Bridge in Rorang-10, Benighat along the Prithvi Highway on Wednesday.
The truck (Na 5 Kha 1568) en-route to Chitwan from Kathmandu fell off the bridge to Hugdi Khola (river) on Wednesday afternoon.
The deceased has been identified as 23-year-old Sher Bahadur Magar,23, of Madhya Bindu Municipality-10, according to police. Magar died on the course of treatment at a Malekhu-based hospital, informed Area Police Office, Gajuri.
Those injured in the incident are Manoj Ale 25, of Arunkhola, Nawalparasi and Megh Bahadur Gharti of Sitakganga Municipality in Arghakhanchi district have been sent to Kathmandu for further medical treatment.Follow @gorkhapost