The new supremo of North Korea’s army has been announced. It is Jang Song-Thaek, the son-in-law of the “dear leader”, Kim Jong-Il.
Parliament held a rare session, its second in two months, to shakeup the higher echelons of the party machine, and even rarer, Kim Jong-Il was in attendance. The reclusive leader missed the previous April session. Also replaced was the country’s premier, believed to be taking the blame for an unpopular currency devaluation last year.
Parliament did not issue any statement on the latest diplomatic crisis with South Korea, the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in March that killed 46 sailors. Seoul says it was attacked with a North Korean torpedo, and has threatened sanctions. Pyongyang says any such move will lead to war.
Rallies have been held in North Korea condemning the south and supporting the regime. The latest appointments concentrate power even more in the hands of Kim Jong-Il and his family, and appear designed in part to smooth the way for a possible succession for one of his sons.