Kim solidifies power in North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has solidified his power in the hermit kingdom after the country's government named a new head of state and premier, granting Kim the new honorary title of “supreme representative of all the Korean people.”

Reuters reported Friday that the new title was approved by North Korea's single-party government earlier this year, but this is the first public announcement of Kim's new position.

One Korea expert with the Washington D.C.-based Stimson Center told Reuters that the move represented the largest change to North Korea's ruling structure in years.

“The transition and power consolidation of the Kim Jong Un regime is complete,” Michael Madden told the news service. “This is probably the largest party-government shake-up in many years."

China's foreign ministry issued a statement following the announcement, congratulating Kim on his reelection as chairman of his party. In addition to Kim's reelection, Choe Ryong Hae has been named head of the country's People's Assembly, replacing Kim Yong Nam.

Choe will now take over as North Korea's ceremonial head of state, representing Korea as its head of state to foreign leaders even as Kim maintains the true power in the country.

President Trump said Thursday that the current level of sanctions on North Korea would remain in place, citing a lack of progress at his last meeting with Kim earlier this year. Trump has expressed hope for a third summit even as the two leaders failed to come away from their second meeting with a firmer deal on denuclearization.

“We want sanctions to remain in place,” Trump told reporters Thursday during a meeting with South Korea's Moon Jae-in.

“As you know, a couple of weeks ago I held it back,” the president added. “And I really believe something very significant is going to happen.”