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(LEAD) N. Korean leader shows up at parliament, shakes up posts: report

All Headlines 17:32 June 07, 2010

(ATTN: UPDATES with shakeup or senior posts)
By Sam Kim

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attended the communist state's rare second parliamentary session on Monday, official media reported, promoting his brother-in-law to a higher post as the country apparently moves to engineer a hereditary power succession.

He was absent from the last session of the rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly on April 9. The official Korean Central News Agency said Jang Song-thaek, who heads a Workers' Party department, became a vice head of the National Defense Commission, the highest seat of power.

The promotion may suggest Kim, 68, is moving forward with efforts to transfer his power to his third son, Jong-un. The report added that Choe Yong-rim, chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee of the Workers' Party, also replaced Kim Yong-il, premier of the Cabinet.

Choe gave a speech at a mass rally on May 30, where as many as 100,000 people reportedly denounced South Korea and the United States for blaming Pyongyang for the sinking of a warship in March.

Forty-six seamen died in the sinking, for which North Korea denies any involvement. Citing a multinational investigation, South Korea concluded that a North Korean submarine torpedoed the Cheonan near the Yellow Sea border.

The 687-member rubber-stamp parliament gives routine approval to an array of policy aims and Cabinet shake-ups that have been ordained by leader Kim Jong-il. No details concerning policy directives were mentioned in the initial media reports.


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