Pyongyang appoints new commander in charge of missile systems

Seoul, Oct 14 (efe-epa).- North Korea has appointed Kim Jong-gil as the new commander for its Strategic Forces, in charge of the regime’s missile systems, state media reported Wednesday.

Kim, a three-star general, would have succeeded General Kim Rak-gyon.

KCTV state television named Kim Jong-gil announced the general as commander of the Strategic Forces by broadcasting images from Saturday’s military parade in which North Korea showed new intermediate-range (IRBM) and intercontinental (IRBM) missiles (ICBM.)

Kim Jong-gil was made a three-star general in May after being named a major general in 2015. His new position is announced at a time marked by the message sent to Washington through the parade.

Experts believe Pyongyang wanted to make clear it would resume developing weapons of mass if it does not receive security guarantees from the US, but that it is open to resume dialogue to denuclearize in exchange for reduced sanctions, a process stalled for almost two years.

On the other hand, KCNA also confirmed the existence of the Kim Jong-un National Defense University for the first time.

Thanks to photos published by North Korean media showing the university’s emblem, the community of experts knew since last year of the existence of this educational institution, the first to be named after the current leader.

The university is allegedly located in Pyongyang’s Ryongsong district, very close to the plant where Hwasong-15, the ICBM that the regime successfully tested in November 2017 and is believed to have the capacity to reach US territory, was made.

The reason state media has not wanted to publicize the institution is unknown. It apparently adopted the current leader’s name after a visit from him in 2016, which seems linked to the development of technologies for missiles and other systems of armament.

KCNA reported during Saturday’s parade that students of this university “which has produced a series of talents in the field of technology and national defense,” marched in formation. EFE-EPA


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