Seoul, Apr 14 (EFE).- North Korea has promoted six military officers to the rank of general, including former defense minister Kim Jong-gwan, state-run news agency KCNA reported Thursday.
“Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), Thursday gave an order to promote the military ranks of commanding officers on the occasion of the 110th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung,” the country’s late founder, the agency said.
This development ahead of one of the most important events in the country may be aimed at displaying unity of the armed forces at a time of tensions with South Korea and other countries in the region, escalated by the North’s recent missile tests and rumors that it is preparing for a nuclear test.
Among others promoted to the rank of general were Kim Myong-sik, Kim Kwang-hyok, Jong Kyong-thaek, O Il-jong and Kang Sun-nam.
Several other military officers were also promoted to the rank of colonel general, lieutenant general and major general, according to KCNA.
Kim “expressed firm belief that all the commanding officers, the hard core of the armed forces of the DPRK (an acronym for North Korea’s official name), would fully discharge their duties in the honorable struggle to turn the revolutionary armed forces into the elite ones under the leadership of the Party Central Committee, remaining boundlessly loyal to the Party and the revolution,” KCNA said.
Kim currently holds the rank of marshal, the second most important military title in North Korea. Only his late grandfather and father, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, have held the position of grand marshal, the highest rank.
There has been a festive atmosphere in North Korea in recent days, not only because of the anniversary on Friday, which is usually marked by a large parade, but also because of the commemoration of Kim Jong-un’s rise to power.
State propaganda praised Kim as the “great successor” to his father Kim Jong-il after his death on Dec. 17, 2011 and 10 days later, on Dec. 30, he was appointed supreme commander of the army, the first step in the formalization of the succession process.
However, the regime considers that he formally became the leader of the country on Apr. 11, 2012, when he was appointed “first secretary” of the party and member of the Presidium. EFE