Three Defense Ministers in a year. Another indication of Kim Jong-un consolidating power but also the rapid turnover may be an illustrative of the decision making philosophy of Kim Jong-un. e.g., Is he making decisions on a whim? Did the previous Defense Minister fail to demonstrate personal loyalty to Kim Jong-un? Also appears to give an indication of the priority for the regime – provocations to gain political and economic concessions. It also does not bode well for the north to become a responsible member of the international community (which of course should be no surprise).
Posted on Thursday, 11.29.12
Sources: North Korea replaces defense minister
BY HYUNG-JIN KIM
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea has replaced its defense minister with a hardline military commander believed responsible for deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010, diplomats in Pyongyang said Thursday. It is the latest in a series of high-profile appointments leader Kim Jong Un has made since he took power nearly a year ago.
Diplomats in Pyongyang told the Associated Press that they were informed that Kim Jong Gak had been replaced as armed forces minister by Kim Kyok Sik, commander of the battalions linked to two deadly attacks in 2010 blamed on North Korea.
The diplomats declined to be named, saying they had not been cleared to discuss the matter with the media.
South Korean officials said they also received similar information about the North Korean personnel changes but gave no further details. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing government protocol.
The move comes amid speculation that North Korea may be preparing a long-range rocket launch. An April launch that broke apart after liftoff drew U.N. condemnation and deepened animosity between the Koreas. North Korea says its launches are meant to put a satellite into orbit.
Analysts say Kim Jong Un aims to use the personnel change to bolster his grip on the 1.2 million-member military, which forms the backbone of his rule over the country.
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