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North Korea bestows new title on its young leader ahead of rocket launch

• http://www.csmonitor.com, ByDonald Kirk
 North Korea’s youthful “supreme leader” got another formal title Wednesday to show he’s really in charge before the North test-fires a long-range missile in the face of strong warnings from the US.
 
Even as engineers were fueling the missile on its launch pad, North Korea’s Workers’ Party named him “first secretary” – a new position created in deference to the memory of his late father, Kim Jong-il, who had had the title of general secretary when he died last December.

Rather than give the same title to Kim Jong-un, still in his late 20s, Pyongyang’s Korea Central News Agency said Kim Jong-il would remain “eternal general secretary.” The title was logical, observers note, as the North prepares for a massive celebration on Sunday marking the centennial of the birth of “Great Leader” Kim Il-sung, honored in posterity as “eternal president” after dying in 1994 and leaving power to Kim Jong-il.

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