With a New Title, Kim Consolidates Power

North Korean ruler tells party to make economy self-sufficient
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2019 4:25 PM CDT
Leadership Shuffle Leaves Kim Even More in Charge
This April 11, 2019, photo provided on Friday, April 12, 2019, by the North Korean government shows the first session of North Korea's parliament in Pyongyang. The parliament has re-elected Kim Jong Un as chairman of the State Affairs Commission.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korea's legislature has given Kim Jong Un a new title and a tighter grip on power. State media referred to Kim on Friday as "supreme representative of all the Korean people" for the first time publicly, Reuters reports. He also was re-elected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which keeps him in control of the party, state and military, per NPR. The changes at the top include a new premier and a new nominal head of state. All the moves by the rubber-stamp legislature reflect Kim's political supremacy, analysts say. "The transition and power consolidation of the Kim Jong Un regime is complete," said a North Korean expert at the Stimson Center, a Washington think tank. "This is probably the largest party-government shake-up in many years." Kim inherited power eight years ago from his father, Kim Jong Il.

Kim delivered marching orders to party officials earlier in the week, telling them to make the nation's economy self-sufficient, "so as to deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes, miscalculating that sanctions can bring (North Korea) to its knees," the official state news agency reported. President Trump said Thursday that the US is keeping its economic sanctions in force, per Reuters. One analyst based in South Korea suspects the legislature thinks tighter control is necessary because the sanctions are hurting the economy, and North Koreans are beginning to complain. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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