I do not buy the "hawks and doves" theory below. I also think we need to be careful about viewing the military as a separate stand alone entity or faction. The regime, military, party are all interwoven and are not separate.
Discord in Pyongyang over third nuclear test
北김정은, "中 외면" 장성택 무시하더니만…
김정은 국방위 제1위원장이 강경파로 분류되는 군 지도부와 함께 531부대 예술선전대 공연을 관람했다고 북한 노동신문이 13일자에 전했다. 왼쪽부터 현철해 인민무력부 제1부부장, 최용해 군 총정치국장, 김정은 위원장, 현영철 군 총참모장. [사진 노동신문]
Before North Korea conducted its third nuclear weapons test in February, a bitter disagreement over its wisdom arose between Kim Jong-un and his uncle and political protector Jang Song-thaek, a source familiar with North Korean affairs told JoongAng Ilbo.
Jang was against the test, the source said.
“We found that there was a fierce altercation between the doves of North Korea’s ruling party and the hawks of the military ahead of the third nuclear test,” the source said Wednesday. “Uncle Jang was one of the doves, while some military officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, the chief of the North Korean People’s Army’s politburo, were maintaining a hard-line position.”
According to the source, Jang allegedly told his nephew, “We already have a nuclear [weapon], and in this situation, if we conduct an additional test, it could make China turn its back on us.”
Allegedly, the hawks in the military argued that a third nuclear test was essential for the survival of the regime.
“Kim Jong-un appears to have supported the military in order to firm up his rule and boost his negotiating power against the United States,” the source said.
The source said the doves include Kim Kyong-hui, the younger sister of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and wife of Jang, and Kang Sok-ju, vice premier of the cabinet.
(Continued at the link below)