SEOUL (AFP) — North Korea has published photographs showing all the members of its most powerful state body in an unusual move designed to further bolster its authority, analysts said Thursday.
The ruling communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, in its April 10 edition seen Thursday, ran photos of all 13 members of the National Defence Commission (NDC) including chairman Kim Jong-Il, Yonhap news agency said.
The agency, which monitors the North's media, said this was a break from the tradition of publishing photos only of Kim and deputy chairmen.
The NDC, which was appointed at an inaugural meeting of the country's parliament last week, has increased its members to 13 from nine.
Kim's trusted brother-in-law Jang Song-Thaek was given a seat as was U Dong-Chuk, who leads the North's secret police.
"It's true that the NDC has risen in status and power," said Cheong Seong-Chang of the Sejong Institute.
"Their photos were released in an apparent bid to project an image locally and abroad that the country is firmly under control under the Songun (military-first) leadership," he told AFP.
Despite lingering questions about his health, the new parliament re-elected Kim, 67, to the country's most powerful post of NDC chairman, cementing his authority over the hardline communist state.
Cheong said the appointment of Jang and U "means the party will tighten control over the people, especially the elite, to prevent any instability linked to Kim Jong-Il's health problems and possible hereditary succession."
Choi Jin-Wook, an analyst with the Korea Institute for National Unification said Jang will likely play a central role in running the NDC and assisting Kim's governance.
"The National Defence Commission will be spearheading not only state affairs but also preparations for a power transfer," Choi told Yonhap.
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