Kim Jong-un Given Highest Military Title of Marshal
Amid a series of military reshuffles this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been officially named the top commander of the Korean People's Army.
[Interview : Korean Central News Agency] "A decision was made to award the title of Marshal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to comrade Kim Jong-un, the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army."
Pyeongyang's state-run media on Wednesday reported that Kim was given the title Marshal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, by the ruling party's Central Committee, the Central Military Commission, the National Defense Commission and the parliamentary Presidium.
That is significant because it means the decision to promote Kim by two ranks from general, was backed by both the party and the military.
It's a move that further strenghthens the young successor's grip over the military.
Kim Jong-un now stands alongside only one other living retired officer who holds the title of marshal, but that person only represents the military.
The only two people holding the higher title of generalissimo are North Korean regime founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il, both of whom are deceased.
Experts say Wednesday's announcement was likely designed to send a strong message to the military, shaken by the sudden dismissal of army chief Ri Yong-ho earlier this week.
The South Korean government has assessed Ri's departure as a political purge to cement Kim Jong-un's prestige.
A Vienna-based North Korea expert told Radio Free Asia that Ri was likely removed from his posts after clashing with the ruling party over economic reforms.
The expert added that Kim Jong-un, facing pressure to lead the country out of its economic plight to ensure his legitimacy, will now focus more on economic issues.
However, doubts linger, since the Kim Jong-un regime remains firm in its nuclear and missile pursuits.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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