Seoul, July 18, 2012 (AFP) - Leader Kim Jong-Un has been made "Marshal" of North Korea, Pyongyang said Wednesday, in another sign that the latest member of the country's ruling communist dynasty was tightening his grip on power.
The title was previously held by Jong-Un's father and grandfather.
"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," KCNA said.
The decision was jointly issued on Tuesday by several top state and party organs, it added.
The "Marshal of the DPRK" rank was first held by North Korea's founding father Kim Il-Sung, until he was promoted to generalissimo in 1992, two years before he died of a heart attack.
His son Jong-Il -- Jong-Un's father -- was also addressed as Marshal of the DPRK before he was posthumously awarded the title of generalissimo in February this year.
"By donning the mantle worn by the two Kims, Jong-Un is projecting an image as a legitimate successor to the throne and tightening his grip on power," Professor Kim Yong-Hyon of Dongguk University told AFP.
Jong-Un became a general in September 2010.
His promotion to the new rank came days after he sacked army chief Ri Yong-Ho as part of a reshuffle apparently aimed at imposing himself on the country's 1.2-million-strong military.
Pyongyang made Hyon Yong-Chul a vice marshal earlier this week, paving the way for him to succeed Ri as the army head.
With Hyon promoted to vice marshal, Jong-Un apparently needed a new rank befitting him as the supreme commander of the military, Cheong Seong-Chang of the Sejong Institute said.
"This is the only title left for Jong-Un to decorate himself with after he assumed almost all party and army positions," he said.