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N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un given marshal title
Publication Date : 18-07-2012
North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un has been awarded the title of marshal, reports said Wednesday.
Marshal is the highest rank in the North's 1.2-million-strong army.
"A decision was made to award the title of Marshal of the DPRK (North Korea) to Kim Jong-un, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a brief report.
The announcement comes after North Korea said Monday its army chief Ri Yong-ho had been removed from all his posts and a little-known general, Hyun Yong-chol, was promoted to the rank of vice-marshal.
The abrupt departure of Ri is being interpreted by senior officials in Seoul as the first political purge by Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be reconfiguring the North's power structure in order to solidify his power he took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-il last December.
The promotion indicates another step the North took to equip Kim with top titles the young leader needs for his leadership, analysts said.
"Kim Jong-un was given the title he deserves as the firmly-seated North Korean leader and the supreme commander," said Paik Hak-soon, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute. "The title awarding came at a time Kim is solidifying his power."
He was on track to win the title, Paik said, adding the decision may have been made in link with the promotion of Hyun to the position of a vice-marshal of the army.