Kim’s first appearance since party convention

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Kim’s first appearance since party convention

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has made his first public appearance after promoting his heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, earlier last week to powerful ruling party posts by taking in an art performance, Pyongyang’s media said yesterday.

Kim “enjoyed together with service persons of the Korean People’s Army a performance given by the art squad of KPA Unit 10125,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, without elaborating on when and where the event was held. The North’s media usually releases reports on Kim’s outdoor activities after the fact, apparently due to security concerns.

The public appearance came five days after the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) elected new party members during the party’s biggest conference in decades. In a move suggesting preparations for a hereditary succession of power, Kim’s third son was named a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK headed by his father, and a member of the party’s Central Committee.

Following the gathering this week, the North’s official media released a series of photos and video clips unveiling the heir apparent to the world.

Kim Jong-il was accompanied by Kim Kyong-hui, his younger sister, who was newly named a four-star general and a member of the party’s Central Committee, her husband, Jang Song-thaek, who was appointed a member of the Central Military Commission, and Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, along with other senior party members, according to the KCNA. The junior Kim was not mentioned.

The leader “set forth important tasks which would serve as guidelines,” KCNA said.

Since his father died in 1994, Kim Jong-il has ruled through the military-first ideology, strengthening the power of the National Defense Commission.

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