Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners - News from the Associate Director, Security Studies Program
Thursday, October 10, 2013
North Korea Replaces Hard-Line Military Chief
Will be interesting when or if we can learn the real reasons behind such moves. As noted General Kim had supposedly been "demoted" and sent from Pyongyang to command 4th Corps from their returned to Pyongyang after their successful 2010 provocations. (Recall our own history with General Petraeus going from CENTCOM to ISAF to CIA – although seemingly a "demotion" as perceived by some when a President asks you to do something you do it and it is not a demotion at all but a sign of trust and confidence and the need to have the right person in the right position regardless of the command structure or perception of a move up or down the military hierarchy – I do not mean to compare General's Kim and Petraeus or Kim Jong-un and President Obama at all – only to illustrate how our perceptions can sometimes be wrong about certain actions). And now General Kim is supposedly ousted again. Too soon to tell. He may turn up somewhere else or he may really have been purged (remember that in north Korea there is on retirement system so they have to remain in uniform or they do not get their government support!) Of course maybe they simply got a new protocol officer who left just left General Kim's name off the lists by mistake!
SEOUL—North Korea has appointed a new military chief, state media confirmed on Thursday, the latest reshuffle of its top brass that is widely seen as a continuing process by dictator Kim Jong Un to solidify power.
Ri Yong Gil was named as general staff of the Korean People's Army in a report from the state news agency about officials who visited the mausoleum of North Korea's former rulers on Wednesday night. General Ri replaces Kim Kyok Sik, who is believed to have directed two attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed a total of 50 people.
Observers have since August suspected that Gen. Ri had replaced Gen. Kim after the latter's name stopped appearing in lists of senior officials attending public events and Gen. Ri was pictured with a new four-star insignia.
Analysts say Kim Jong Un has moved to replace an older generation of military leaders who served under his father, Kim Jong Il, as part of his efforts to stamp his own authority on the military and reduce its economic power.
South Korea's Unification Ministry says around 100 North Korean military, government and party officials have been replaced since Kim Jong Un took power in early 2012.
Gen. Kim was replaced as armed forces minister in May this year before reappearing as general staff of the military, the most senior post in the armed forces under Kim Jong Un.