NK state media dub heir apparent a `General`

North Korea`s state media this week began bestowing the title "general" on the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-Il, showing he has cemented his status as leader-in-waiting.

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2011, 17:08 PM IST

Seoul: North Korea`s state media this week
began bestowing the title "general" on the youngest son of
leader Kim Jong-Il, showing he has cemented his status as
leader-in-waiting, an analyst said on Tuesday.

Kim Jong-Un, believed to be in his late 20s, was given
senior ruling party posts in September last year and was
appointed a four-star general at the same time, despite
lacking any military experience.

But state media had previously only used his official
title -- vice-chairman of the central military commission of
the Workers` Party of Korea.

The son was described as "General of the Korean People`s
Army" yesterday when Pyongyang`s official news agency released
a list of top officials who attended a meeting between Kim
Jong-Il and China`s visiting vice premier Li Keqiang.

Other state media used the same title on the same day,
according to the South`s Yonhap news agency, which monitors
the North`s broadcast media.

"The latest move indicates Kim Jong-Un is being put
forward formally as a powerful leader like his father," Sejong
Institute analyst Cheong Seong-Chang, a specialist in the
succession issue, told AFP.

"Such a title has been used internally but North Korea
now appears to be boosting the image of Jong-Un as military
leader," he added.

The senior Kim formally took over after his own father
and founding president Kim Il-Sung died in 1994. Leader Kim
apparently speeded up plans for a second eventual dynastic
succession after suffering a stroke in August 2008.

It remains unclear when the son will be formally named as
successor, although he is already actively involved in state
affairs.

PTI