North Korean leader tightens grip on power

Aug. 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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SEOUL, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has consolidated his grip on power steadily since assuming office in December 2011, the South Korean government said.

Kim Jong Un assumed power after his father Kim Jong Il died of an apparent heart attack in December 2011. The North Korean government recently revised state rhetoric in an effort to strengthen the position of the leader, who was said to be in his late 20s when he assumed power.

A policy paper issued by the South Korean government Friday said the younger Kim has been able to strengthen his power since he took control over North Korea.

"Kim Jong Un dominated the (governing) party and the military in his seemingly stable process to consolidate his power," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports.

Kim Jong Un is the supreme leader of North Korea, leading the military and ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

The policy paper said it's seen little evidence he was making good on early pledges to help alleviate the suffering of a North Korean population struggling under state policies dominated by military affairs.

North Korea jeopardized much of its international food assistance when it conducted an underground nuclear test in February, its third such test since 2009.

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