SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, put himself in charge of a new governing agency created during a meeting of his country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, on Wednesday.
The Assembly revised North Korea’s Constitution to create what the state media called a Commission on State Affairs and named Mr. Kim as its chairman. It replaced the National Defense Commission, the most powerful governing organ under Mr. Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea until his death in 2011.
Mr. Kim’s new title was the latest in a series of top leadership roles in the military, party and government that he has acquired as he tries to establish his one-man rule.
His top deputies — Hwang Pyong-so, the North Korean military’s top political officer; Choe Ryong-hae, the vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee; and Pak Pong-ju, the premier of the cabinet — were appointed as vice chairmen of the newly created commission.
Before his death, Kim Jong-il ruled North Korea as chairman of the National Defense Commission. Although the commission was originally created to oversee military affairs, he used it as his primary governing agency under his “military first” policy, which focused on the development of nuclear weapons and promoted the priorities of the Korean People’s Army in economic and other policy decisions.
Since taking power, Kim Jong-un has tried to put his own stamp on the totalitarian state he inherited. He has engineered a series of purges and filled the top posts in the party and military with loyalists. He helped the party regain influence over the military.
Compared with the military-oriented National Defense Commission, the newly created state affairs commission is broader, including key party and cabinet figures as its members. Its chairman’s role is comparable to that of president, a title Mr. Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founding leader Kim Il-sung, used to hold, said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea.
In the congress of the Workers’ Party in May, Mr. Kim was appointed as its chairman, a new post created to replace the title of general secretary that his father had held when he was the party boss.
The congress also adopted as a key national strategy Mr. Kim’s “byungjin” policy, which seeks economic development while continuing to expand the country’s nuclear weapons and missile capacities.
The parliament met in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, on Wednesday to follow up on the party congress, which set broader guidelines. It also elected its presidium, a permanent executive committee with legislative powers, as well as members of the cabinet, said the state-run Korean Central Television network.
In his speech, Mr. Pak, the premier, vowed to push a five-year economic development plan, emphasizing the need to increase production in the agricultural and light-industry sectors.
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