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N. Korea may formally pick Kim this week

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will be appointed president of his reclusive state this year and possibly within a week, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted sources close to the North Korean embassy as saying Friday.

Kim, de facto leader in Pyongyang since his father Kim Il-sung died in 1994, was elected communist party chief on Wednesday, but there was no official word then on the question of him being made president like his father."North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will become president of the country already this year, `possibly in one week's time,' sources close to the Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea here told Itar-Tass," the agency reported.

Although a formality given his existing powers, Kim's accession to the presidency would fully round off the first dynastic succession in what is left of the communist world.

"So far we don't know when Comrade Kim Jong-il will be named president but of course we want this to happen," a North Korean diplomat told Reuters by telephone. "Everyone in the embassy feels the same way."