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N. Korean Parliament Re-elects Kim Jong-il

Published: April 10, 2009 (Issue # 1464)


SEOUL — North Korea re-elected Kim Jong-il as its supreme military leader at its newly seated parliament on Thursday, marking his return to center stage as the country celebrates what it calls a triumphant satellite launch.

The move came as the UN Security Council failed to agree on an action in response to Sunday’s launch, widely seen as a disguised missile test, prompting U.S. Senator John McCain to press China, the North’s key ally, to get tough on its reclusive, impoverished neighbor.

Kim, 67, has been conspicuously absent from major public events after a suspected stroke in August, which raised questions about his iron grip over Asia’s only communist dynasty and whether anyone was waiting in the wings to succeed him.

“The First Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK held here elected leader Kim Jong-il chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission,” its KCNA news agency said, using the official name Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The chairman of the National Defense Commission is the seat of power in North Korea, which named state founder and Kim’s father Kim Il-sung eternal president after his death in 1994.

The North lauded the launch as resulting from the state’s guiding ideals of self-reliance and military-first saying the rocket shot showed “the powerful strength of the DPRK, which has rushed forward like the wind towards the rich and powerful country.”

Analysts said the carefully choreographed session of the rubber-stamp Supreme People’s Assembly would give Kim a mandate that cements his legacy of building a military-first state and could pave the way to transfer power to one of his three sons.

It was unclear whether Kim has appeared at the meeting as he customarily does at the opening session of parliament.

North Korea’s propaganda machine has carefully managed the re-emergence of Kim from his illness through reports about his tours to factories and military bases, while only showing still photographs of the visits.

It prepared the public for his full return by saying he was on hand Sunday to watch the long-range rocket launch. On Tuesday, it showed video footage of the launch on state TV followed by a documentary on Kim where the public saw recent video images of him for the first time since his suspected stroke.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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