(Reuters) - North Korea's ruling Workers' Party held its biggest meeting in 30 years and appointed the son of leader Kim Jong-il to a senior post, pushing ahead the succession process in the reclusive state.
The following are the key appointments:
Leader Kim Jong'il's third son, believed to be born in late 1983 or early 1984, is all but certain to become the third generation of leader in the reclusive state. His appointment as newly-created vice chairman of the party's Central Military Commission puts him directly under his father, who is its chief, for training in military policymaking for a country that upholds the "military first" strategy.
The appointment was more advanced than what had been anticipated by some analysts, who said his first job may not be a public one. He was also made a Central Committee member.
The sister of leader Kim won a seat at the key Political Bureau as a full member, capping her growing prominence as one of her brother's closest confidants. Analysts have been skeptical about speculation that she may be vying to take over power for herself, saying that her role would more likely be as regent to her nephew.
Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law fell short of an anticipated full-time appointment to the Political Bureau, becoming an alternate member instead. It is still considered a senior post. He already holds a top post in the military, standing as vice chairman of National Defense Commission, which commands the country's 1.2-million strong military.
Long-time bureaucrat and the nominal head of state who has been a steadfast presence in North Korea's political scene was named to the highest body -- the presidium of the Workers' Party Political Bureau -- likely as a reward for his loyalty to the ruling family.
The new premier who took up the post in June is another life-long family confidant who was named to the presidium.
The army chief of staff was named to the Political Bureau presidium, a day after being awarded the rank of Vice Marshal. A relatively young army man, Ri is considered a leader among the new generation of military cadre who could act as a link when Kim Jong-il turns over power to his son.
Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Jeremy Laurence