SEOUL - Reclusive North Korea's ruling Workers' Party named young leader Kim Jong-un as "first secretary," which appears to be a newly created post, at a rare conference held on Wednesday, the official KCNA news agency said.

The party met while the country fueled a long-range rocket in defiance of international sanctions and warnings, ready for blast-off as early as Thursday.

The same party conference also named Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December, as its "General Secretary for eternity".

Some analysts had expected Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his twenties, to become general-secretary, but the title going to his father for eternity makes sense in the North Korean context. Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather and nation's founder who died in 1994, is president for eternity.

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