North Korea's young new leader, Kim Jong Un, has been named head of the ruling Communist party, consolidating his status just before a planned missile launch that could halt a U.S. food deal and raise regional tensions.

Kim, who is believed to be younger than 30, was named first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday. It was his first government post since becoming head of the country after the December death of his father Kim Jong Il, who was named “eternal general secretary” of the party, Bloomberg News reported, citing KCNA.

“The official power transfer process is finally taking place after months of mourning Kim Jong Il’s death,” said Koh Yu Hwan, professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.