Kim Jong Un named to head state panel; new premier selected

Kim Jong Un named to head state panel; new premier selected

Kim Jong Un named to head state panel; new premier selected

Kim was elected chair of the State Affairs Commission (SAC) of North Korea at the first session of country's 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) on Thursday. Though it has been only three years since the election, his new five-year term should technically start with the beginning of the newly formed parliament.

Kim Yong Nam, who was born in 1928, has been one of the longest serving senior officials, having held the position since it was created for him in 1998, Madden said.

Kim Yong Nam, who held the position for nearly 20 years, was replaced by Choe Ryong Hae, who will take over the role of representing Pyongyang at worldwide engagements, KCNA said. Choe was also elected to first vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission, a new post.

Choe's father had ties to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un's grandfather and the founding leader of North Korea, and Choe himself had a personal relationship with Kim Jong Il for decades.

Experts see the North's latest personnel reshuffle as focusing on strengthening the lineup of its nuclear negotiating team in preparations for future talks with Washington on its nuclear weapons program. Talks between Trump and Kim in Hanoi fell apart after the U.S. president rejected Pyongyang's offer to fully denuclearize once sanctions were lifted.

'The North Koreans seem focused on sanctions relief at the moment, meaning a lack of progress without at least partial relief, ' he said. "I think that sanctions right now are at a level that's a fair level".

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"The Supreme Leader urged the need for leading officials to fully display a high sense of responsibility and creativity, and the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and fortitude in an attitude befitting the masters of the revolution and construction under the prevailing tense situation and thus follow through on the new strategic line of the party", he told his ruling Politburo.

"In this sense, I believe the Hanoi summit was not a source of disappointment", Moon said, adding: "But it is actually part of a bigger process that will lead us to a bigger agreement".

The fate of Kim Yong Chol had been the focus of South Korean media speculation since the second Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi in February ended without any agreement because of disputes over US -led sanctions on the North.

Moon was in Washington for talks that he hoped would help put denuclearisation with North Korea back on track after a failed summit between the United States and North Korean leaders in February.

The new personnel appointments may be a sign of Kim's desire to keep recent months of up-and-down nuclear diplomacy alive rather than returning to the threats and weapons tests that characterized 2017, when many feared war on the Korean Peninsula.

The North forecast that its revenue will grow 3.7 percent on-year this year, with its expenditure projected to increase 5.3 percent over the same period, the state media reported.

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