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Late North Korean Leader Promoted to Generalissimo

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il

North Korea has announced that its late leader, Kim Jong Il, has been bestowed the title of generalissimo.

North Korea's state media says the Supreme People's Assembly, the central military commission of the Workers' Party, and the National Defense Committee have awarded Mr. Kim the posthumous title of generalissimo, promoting him from marshal.

The announcement, by the official news agency and aired on the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station from Pyongyang, proclaims the late leader has been bestowed the same title as his father, Kim Il Sung, who, even in death, officially remains the country's only president.

The radio announcer says Kim Jong Il strengthened the army, which was founded and led by his father. He says Kim Jong Il's "invincible revolutionary leadership led the country to victory over the stand-off with imperialism and the United States."

Earlier in the week, North Korea unveiled its first bronze statue of Kim Jong Il, portraying him on horseback next to a similar statue of Kim Il Sung.

North Korea is to mark what would have been Kim Jong Il's 70th birthday celebration on Thursday. But now that he is deceased, it is not clear precisely what that will entail.
After Mr. Kim died, his third son, Kim Jong Un, succeeded him. He is believed to be in his late 20's.

Since assuming power, Kim Jong Un quickly embarked on a number of guidance visits to military facilities and schools. He is usually accompanied by a group of men in their 70's and 80's. Analysts say they are providing guidance to him, much as they did to his father and grandfather, in hopes that a third generation of the Kim family can maintain the unity of the impoverished country.