(Newsroom America) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un assumed the country's top military rank Wednesday, in a move that adds to several more titles he has taken and cements his leadership role over the country's 1.2-million strong armed forces.
The decision was made on Tuesday but announced by state media Wednesday, and comes after a purge of the country's leading general.
Assuming the new title completes Kim Jong-un's elevation following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December. The younger Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, already heads up the Workers' Party of Korea and is First Chairman of the National Defense Committee.
Kim has worked progressively to establish his own style of control over the impoverished hermit nation. As such, he ousted Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho on Sunday, the country's top military figure, who was viewed as being close to Kim Jong-il.
China, North Korea's most important backer, gave a guarded reaction to the announcement, stopping short of offering a message of congratulation.
"China and North Korea are friendly neighbors and we wish for the smooth development of all undertakings in North Korea under the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un and the Workers' Party of Korea," said China's foreign ministry, in a statement.
North Korea suffered a debilitating famine during the 1990s, and its economy was devastated following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
© 2012 Newsroom America.