North Korea’s parliament has re-elected the country’s leader Kim Jong Un as chairman of the State Affairs Commission and chosen a new premier.
The first session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly on Thursday chose Kim Jong Un for the post because of “his outstanding ideological and theoretical wisdom and experienced and seasoned leadership,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.
The assembly had first elected him chairman of the commission in 2016.
The official news agency also said Friday that Kim Jae Ryong was chosen as premier of the cabinet, replacing Pak Pong Ju.
What do we know about Kim Jae Ryong?
– Became a member of the WPK Political Bureau on April 12
– Also became a member of the Central Military Commission on same day
Person w/ same name also made several appearances in Northern provinces through early 2019, NK media shows.
— Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl) April 11, 2019
The North Korea Watch website says Kim Jae Ryong has been a longtime ruling party leader and has “held guidance officer and political management positions at industrial sites”.
Pak Pong Ju had served two separate terms as premier, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2019, according to North Korea Watch.
Additionally, Choe Ryong Hae was named President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea.
The person holding that position is technically considered North Korea’s head of state and usually represents the country at diplomatic events, though experts say real power remains concentrated in leader Kim Jong Un’s hands.
Choe, born in 1950, was one of the most powerful officials in North Korea as head of the Workers’ Party of Korea Organization and Guidance Department.
He had been director of cultural exchange programmes and vice chairman at the Kim Il Sung Youth League in the 1980s, leading youth delegations on goodwill visits to China, Russia, Japan, Libya and Greece, according to database North Korea Leadership Watch.
Choe was one of the three officials sanctioned by the US in December over allegations of rights abuses.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump, who has had two summits with Kim to discuss North Korean denuclearization and has expressed his willingness for a third, said Washington would leave sanctions in place.
Ahead of Trump’s meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the North Korean leader said his country needed to deliver a “telling blow” to those imposing sanctions on the country by ensuring its economy is more self-reliant.
In comments reported on Thursday by KCNA, Kim said he would double down on efforts to create a self-supporting national economy.
This, Kim was reported as saying, was “to deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring [North Korea] to its knees”.
North Korea must deliver ‘blow’ to those imposing sanctions
Al Jazeera and news agencies