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

North Korea on Saturday said that it would hold an annual parliamentary session next month around the time of a planned rocket launch by the nuclear-armed state that has sparked widespread condemnation.

The meeting of the body will also take place just two days before deceased founder Kim Il-Sung’s 100th birthday and will be the first under new leader Kim Jong-Un.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the Supreme People’s Assembly would convene on April 13.

The Assembly is constitutionally able to appoint the chairman of the National Defence Commission, a top military decision-making body wielding great influence over the highly militarised communist state.

It remains to be seen whether Kim Jong-Un, currently serving as vice chairman of the commission, will be promoted to the commission’s highest post held by his father Kim Jong-Il, who died in December from a heart attack.

Separately, the North’s ruling communist party last month said it would convene a rare special conference in April on an unspecified date in an apparent attempt to wrap up the power transfer to the new leader.

Kim Jong-Un has been proclaimed the “great successor” but has so far been formally appointed to only one of the late Kim’s posts, commander-in-chief of the 1.2 million-member military.

The April party meeting is likely to appoint Jong-Un to his father’s old posts of party general secretary and chief of its Central Military Commission, analysts said.

North Korea announced earlier this month it would launch a rocket in mid-April to put a satellite into orbit to celebrate the centenary of Kim Il-Sung’s birth -move seen by the United States, South Korea and other nations as a pretext for a long-range missile test banned by the UN.

The North on Friday said preparations “have entered a full-fledged stage of action” and promised unspecified “counter-measures” against opponents of the operation.

Amid mounting tensions, North Korea’s main ally China urged that “all parties should keep calm and exercise restraint”, while a special adviser to US President Barack Obama warned any launch will generate a “strong response.”

World leaders including Mr. Obama are meeting in Seoul next week for a summit officially focused on nuclear terrorism.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to raise the rocket launch at the meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

RELATED NEWS

North Korea in a time warp: Obama March 25, 2012

More In: International | News