Monday, June 7, 2010

DTN News: North Korea's Kim Jong-il Attends Parliament; PM Sacked

Defense News: DTN News: North Korea's Kim Jong-il Attends Parliament; PM Sacked
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Jack Kim
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - June 7, 2010: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attended a rare session of its rubber-stamp parliament on Monday that replaced the country's premier, its official KCNA news agency said.
The premier is considered the top official responsible for the North's economic policy and the move could be linked to a currency revaluation late last year that according to some media reports incited widespread public discontent.
Incumbent Premier Kim Yong-il was replaced by a top Workers' Party official Choe Yong-rim, KCNA said.
Kim's brother-in-law, Jang Song-thaek, was elected to the powerful post of a vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, which is headed by the reclusive leader, KCNA also said.
Kim, who suffered a stroke in 2008, missed the previous session of the Supreme People's Assembly in April, which amended the country's constitution to strengthen his power.
The second session in two months came amid growing momentum in the international community to punish Pyongyang for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March that killed 46 sailors.
Analysts had said the North could use the extra session of the Supreme People's Assembly to make a major announcement on personnel changes or power succession, or to issue a hardline response to sanctions imposed by the South over the ship sinking.
North Korea drove tensions to new heights in recent weeks by threatening war if Seoul imposed sanctions, denying any role in the sinking of the corvette Cheonan and accusing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak of using the incident for political aims.
The mounting antagonism between the two Koreas, which so far has remained rhetorical, has unnerved global investors, worried about armed conflict breaking out in a region home to the world's second and third biggest economies.
(Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Alex Richardson)

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