The ruling Workers’ Party’s 8th congress awarded Kim his new title after a vote on Sunday that followed a slight revision of the rules, according to North Korean media. The appointment to general secretary is a largely symbolic one as Kim had already been the top official within the party as chairman.
“All the delegates expressed full support with stormy applause in great excitement”, said the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). During the meeting, the first of its kind since 2016, Kim also promised to build more sophisticated nuclear weapons.
The move appears aimed at bolstering his authority amid some tough economic challenges. Kim’s election to the new post reflected the “unanimous will and desire” of all party members, citizens, and members of the People’s Army, the party said.
A congress statement carried by the KCNA said Kim had “gloriously realized the historic mission to complete the country’s nuclear build-up plan.” It’s thought that the promises were aimed at pressuring President-elect Joe Biden to resume diplomacy and make concessions to North Korea after he takes office next week. It is unclear whether Biden, who has criticized Kim’s much-publicized summits with President Donald Trump, will do so.