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North Korean congress minus ancestor portraits shows Kim ambition

With title of general secretary, young leader seeks greater freedom of action

People pay tribute to statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, right, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 1. Photo supplied by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was given a new top party title during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea, which seems to indicate his ambition to set his own policy agenda not dictated by the principles put down by his two widely worshipped predecessors.

The ruling party congress, which in theory is North Korea's highest decision-making body, bestowed Kim with the title of general secretary of the Workers' Party, the same status held by his late father Kim Jong Il as well as grandfather Kim Il Sung, the venerated founder of the country.

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