After exercising considerable power for many years behind the scenes, Kim Jong Il became a public figure when he was elected to a series of high Party positions at the Sixth Korean Workers’ Party Congress in October 1980. Following this unveiling, Party cadres began to make open reference to the younger Kim’s role as his father’s successor, and during 1980–2 a further series of moves confirmed his authority. This brought to a successful conclusion a long, drawn-out and at times contested process of embedding hereditary rule into an historically Marxist–Leninist polity, and what it ultimately signalled was that the fundamental pillars of Kimist rule – militarism, a rigid command economy, high levels of state indoctrination and violence, continuing confrontation with the ROK, the US and Japan, and quarantining from almost every aspect of the international economic and political system, would continue as unchanged as the regime could manage.