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’ on Monday 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 said.
   
"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.

(Agencies)