N. Korea's Defense Chief Replaced with Hawkish General
[An Nahar] North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has replaced his defense chief with a hawkish general in a shakeup apparently aimed at tightening his grip over the military, a report said Thursday.
Vice Marshal Kim Jong-Gak was sacked as defense minister after just seven months in office, Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed senior South Korean presidential official as saying.
| There's such a thing as a 'non-hawkish' Nork general?|
He was replaced by Kim Kyok-Sik, a hawkish general believed to have orchestrated the North's sinking of a South Korean warship and an artillery attack on a border island in 2010, it said.
Analysts said the re-shuffle, if confirmed, was the latest in a series of top-level personnel changes ordered by Kim Jong-Un since taking over after the death of his father, Kim
Dear Leader Jong-Il
... hereditary dictator of North Korea. His definition of
reunification isn't the same as the definition in Seoul...
, a year ago.
"Kim has tightened his grip over the military by replacing top military generals with those loyal to him," Yang Moo-Jin, a professor of the University of North Korean Studies, told Agence La Belle France Presse.
In July, Hyon Yong-Chol, a little-known general, became chief of the general staff, a powerful post that controls the North's 1.2-million-strong military.
He replaced Ri Yong-Ho, who had been regarded as one of Kim's inner circle but was relieved of all his posts -- officially because of "illness."
Ri was a highly visible figure who helped support Kim following the death of his father, and his sudden departure sparked speculation that he might have been purged.
Posted by: Fred 2012-11-30