Kim Jong-un 're-elected' as North Korea's leader

Close confidante to chair top military body while Ri Su-yong now the foreign minister

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 1:12am

Kim Jong-un was yesterday "re-elected" as North Korea's leader, state media said, as parliament met in a session closely watched for power shifts in the regime following the execution of his once-powerful uncle.

The new parliament also elected members of the powerful National Defence Commission (NDC), appointing Kim's close confidant Choe Ryong-hae as one of three vice-chairmen of the top military decision-making body.

Kim Yong-nam retained his status as de facto head of state when he was re-elected chairman of parliament's standing committee.

The country does not have a president because the current leader's grandfather Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, has been declared its "eternal president".

The parliament known as the Supreme People's Assembly also reshuffled the cabinet, the supreme court and prosecution authorities, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Former ambassador to Switzerland Ri Su-yong became new foreign minister, replacing Pak Ui-chun, while Prime Minister Pak Pong-ju retained his post.

Kim's uncle Jang Song-thaek, once the North's unofficial number two and Kim's political mentor, was a vice-chairman of the NDC before he was executed last December on charges including treason and corruption.

Kim was reaffirmed as first chairman of the NDC by the new parliament.

Upon Kim's re-election, "all the deputies and participants in the session broke into stormy cheers of 'hurrah!', extending the highest glory and warmest congratulations to him", KCNA said.