Kim Jong Un becomes North Korea ruling party chairman

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the first congress of the country's ruling Workers' Party in 36 years, in Pyongyang, North Korea on May 9, 2016.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the first congress of the country's ruling Workers' Party in 36 years, in Pyongyang, North Korea on May 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/KYODO

PYONGYANG (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was Monday (May 9) given a new title - chairman of the Workers' Party - at a rare top-level meeting of the ruling party.

The country's de facto head of state Kim Yong Nam announced the post as foreign journalists briefly watched proceedings at the party congress - the first for 36 years.

Kim - the third generation of the dynasty that has ruled the country since its founding in 1948 - was previously first secretary of the party.

The appointment will further bolster his authority at a congress seen as a coronation of sorts for the young leader, who came to power in December 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Il has been designated eternal party general secretary.

The current leader's grandfather and the country's founding leader, Kim Il Sung, remains eternal president of the nation despite having died in 1994.