Military elects Kim Jong-Un as party delegate

Military elects Kim Jong-Un as party delegate Seoul: North Korea's military has elected new leader Kim Jong-Un as a delegate to an upcoming ruling party conference, state media said Tuesday, in an apparent move to consolidate his grip on power.

Military delegates met yesterday to elect Kim as a delegate to the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) conference, reflecting "the will and desire of all the service personnel", according to the official KCNA news agency.

The ruling party will hold a rare special conference at an unspecified date in April in an apparent attempt to wrap up the power transfer to the new leader, aged in his late twenties.

Analysts say the meeting is likely to appoint Jong-Un to the post of party general secretary previously held by his father Kim Jong-Il, who died in December.

Jong-Un has been proclaimed "great successor" but has so far been formally appointed to only one of the late Kim's posts, supreme commander of the 1.2 million-strong military.

The election of Jong-Un as a WPK delegate is "the service personnel's manifestation of their absolute trust and ardent loyalty to him", Kim Jong-Gak, a senior military official, said in a speech carried by KCNA.

Separately, the North will convene an annual session of its rubber-stamp Parliament on April 13 -- around the time of a rocket launch planned by the North that has sparked widespread condemnation.

The assembly is constitutionally able to appoint a chairman of the National Defence Commission, the highest decision-making body in the highly militarised state.

Kim Jong-Il previously chaired the commission. It was unclear whether his son would take over the post.

North Korea has announced it will launch a rocket between April 12 and 16 to put a satellite into orbit to celebrate the centenary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-Sung.

The move has been condemned by the United States, South Korea and other nations as a pretext for a long-range missile test banned by the United Nations.

It has also jeopardised a deal with the United States announced last month, under which the North agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and long-range missile tests in return for food aid.