North Korea ruling party to meet, may make succession official
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's state media said on Monday its ruling Workers' Party will hold a key conference in April, the first since 2010, in which it is likely to make official the succession of power to its third generation of leadership.
The conference, to be held in mid-April, will come around the time of the centenary of the state founder Kim Il-sung's birth, which the North has planned to mark the launch of a new era as a "strong and prosperous nation."
"The Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee decides to convene the WPK Conference in mid-April Juche 101 (2012) to glorify the sacred revolutionary life and feats of Kim Jong-il for all ages and accomplish the Juche cause, the Songun revolutionary cause, rallied close around Kim Jong-un," the North's KCNA news agency said.
Juche is the North's homegrown state ideology mixing Marxism and extreme nationalism, preached by the state founder Kim Il-sung. Songun is his son's own ruling doctrine that translates to "military first."
Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be in his late 20s, was appointed vice chairman of the Workers' Party's Central Military Commission at a rare conference in September 2010, taking his first official title in rapid preparations for succession.
That meeting was the first of its kind in more than 30 years. Experts said the conference is reserved for making official special moves in the country's power hierarchy.
His father Kim Jong-il died in December last year, leaving the reclusive state in the hands of his untested son. Kim is believed to be backed by royal family members and aides, headed by the young leader's uncle and a top army general.
Kim Jong-un has been called "supreme commander" and has been at the head of state functions honouring his dead father.
So far he has appeared at ease in his new role and presided over "birthday" celebrations for his dead father in Pyongywang last week.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by David Chance)
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