Kim Jong-un has appointed himself head-of-state of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). He also appointed himself commander-in-chief of the Korean People's Army, the de facto armed forces of the North Korean state.

Some Western observers said these unusual steps seems to be a prelude to moves that could lead to the signing of a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War, the world's longest ongoing unresolved war. The Korea War began on June 25, 1950 with North Korea’s invasion of South Korea. An Armistice signed on July 27, 1953 by both sides ended fighting, but not the war itself.

Kim’s self-appointments were part of a new constitution crafted on his orders and apparently passed last week. The new constitution also continues to describe North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

The new constitution affirms that Kim, in his role as chairman of the State Affairs Commission (a top governing body created in 2016), is “the supreme representative of all the Korean people.” Observers said this means head of state and commander-in-chief in North Korea-speak.

The old constitution simply referred to Kim as the “supreme leader" commanding North Korea’s “overall military force."

Under his late father, Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s official head of state was the president of the rubber-stamp parliament known as the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly.

“Kim had dreamed of becoming the president of North Korea and he effectively made it come true,” Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Far East Institute in Seoul, told Reuters.

“He has long sought to shake off the abnormal military-first policy the country has stuck to for a long time.”

Kim's change of title might also be aimed at preparing for a potential peace treaty with the United States, according to Hong Min, a senior researcher of the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.

“The amendment may well be a chance to establish Kim’s status as the signer of a peace treaty when it comes, while projecting the image of the country as a normal state,” said Hong.

Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea have gotten nowhere despite president Donald Trump's continuing claims of progress. Nothing has been heard about the supposed new talks to take place this month.