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Recent N. Korean congress replaces over half of party's central committee

2016/05/13 18:16

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has replaced more than half of the ruling party's central committee at the recent party congress, a dramatic change which mirrors the country's ongoing effort to cement leader Kim Jong-un's power, South Korean government data showed Friday.

A total of 129, or 54.9 percent, of the Central Committee's 235 members and member candidates were replaced, with the remaining 106 retaining their membership, according to the Unification Ministry's analysis of the congress' results.

The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) which controls the reclusive country ended its four-day congress on Monday. The congress is the highest WPK gathering and this year's event was the first to be held in 36 years.

The Central Committee is the umbrella guidance body with smaller subcommittees like a politburo and a secretariat under its wings.

According to the list released by the North on Tuesday, Kim's younger sister made it onto the committee along with Jo Yong-won, a deputy head known to be among an emerging generation of leaders.

The change "seems to be part of North Korea's efforts to pave the way for the buildup of Kim Jong-un's loyalist group" and to promote harmony among different generations, the ministry report said.

During the congress, the membership of the party's Central Military Commission had been cut to 12 members from 17 in a bid to "simplify the military's chain of command," according to the document.

Premier of the Cabinet Pak Pong-ju's election to the military body as a member from a non-military background reflects "an intensified role of the party as well as the dwindling of the military's role," it also claimed.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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