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Nn. Korea's Kim Jong Un named marshal

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Soldiers danced in Pyongyang's plazas as North Korea announced Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Un was named marshal, cementing his status atop the authoritarian nation's military as he makes key changes to the 1.2 million-man force.

State media said in a special noon bulletin that the military, government and political leadership decided Tuesday to award the top title to Kim, already supreme commander of the People's Army. It solidifies his standing seven months into his rule and follows reshuffling at the highest levels of the military.

His new military vanguard, led by a vice marshal introduced yesterday as the nation's next army chief -- presided over a meeting of officers and defense officials attended by The Associated Press.

Hyon Yong Chol, promoted to vice marshal on Monday, was introduced as the chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army. He replaces Ri Yong Ho, the vice marshal whose dismissal was announced Monday as being due to illness. Ri, who had held high-ranking military and political posts under Kim Jong Il, had been at Kim Jong Un's side throughout the succession process. -- AP

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