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N. Korea marks 1st anniversary of Kim's leadership assumption

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The leadership of Kim Jong-un has been instrumental in North Korea's efforts to build a powerful nation, the North's major newspaper said Thursday, as the country marks the 1st anniversary of Kim's assumption of the top post at the ruling communist party.

"The selection of Kim Jong-un, our comrade, as the first secretary was a great political incident that is a milestone for a turning point in our party's efforts to consolidate the party and build a powerful nation," said the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, published by the governing Workers' Party of Korea.

On April 11 a year earlier, the party appointed Kim as the first secretary, bringing him to the newly-established top party post in order to consolidate his power at the all-powerful governing party.

Kim took power in December 2011 after his father and late leader Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack.

The newspaper extolled Kim as "the No. 1 man of conviction and will" as well as "the man with plenty of courage."

The North's successful launch of the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite in December and the third nuclear test on Feb. 12 were "satisfying victories only comrade Kim Jong-un could carry out", the newspaper also noted.

"History has never seen any socialist leader like him," the Rodong Sinmun said. "He gained a grip on the international public sentiment and exerted great influence in the international community in such a short period of time."

The North also gave Kim the title of the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission on April 13 last year, completing the process of giving him full reign over the country.

The anniversary comes as inter-Korean relations have tumbled to the worst level in decades. Following the February nuclear test, the North has continuously ratcheted up warlike rhetoric against the South and the United States.

Commenting on the more-than-year-long leadership of the new leader, South Korean analysts said Kim seems to be trying to use the party leadership to make up for his political inexperience, steering away from his father's one-man governing style.

"The Kim Jong-un regime hastily made its debut following the sudden death of chairman Kim Jong-il," said Chang Yong-suk, a researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University. The revival of various levels of party meetings indicates his intention to lead the country through the political system and process, he said.

Referring to the country's increased efforts to shore up the sickly economy under its new leader, Im Eul-chul, a research professor of Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, said the country's "emphasis on the improvement on the livelihoods of the people, seems to denote the leader's will to secure his support base through economic development."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130411/n-korea-marks-1st-anniversary-kims-leadership-assumption