Pyongyang reshuffles military leadership

Seoul, Dec 1 (EFE).- North Korea has carried out important changes in its military leadership after the plenary meeting of the sole party held in Pyongyang, state media announced Sunday.

Pak Jong-chon was “dismissed” from office and Ri Yong-gil was elected secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, KCNA reported.

The article did not explain why Pak, for many a rising star within the regime, was demoted.

Pak was secretary of the Central Committee and a member of the Politburo presidium, considered the body of the most powerful figures in Pyongyang, as well as vice president of the powerful Central Military Commission.

He was also promoted to marshal in October 2020, although the following summer he was demoted for a couple of months over an incident related to pandemic quarantine systems that the regime never specified.

Ri’s position as defense minister will go to Kang Sun-nam, according to the article, while social security minister Pak Su-il will become chief of staff of the Korean People’s Army, taking over from Ri Thae-sop, who will become public security minister.

The changes in the military leadership come as tension on the Korean Peninsula is at a high in step with the regime’s record number of weapons tests and major military exercises being carried out by Seoul and Washington.

Just Sunday, state media made public that at the close of the party plenary meeting, leader Kim Jong-un demanded the need to “exponentially” increase his arsenal of short-range nuclear weapons and also presented a new “super-large” caliber artillery system that had been fired hours earlier. EFE


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