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  • » 07/16/2012, 00.00

    NORTH KOREA

    Army chief removed in Pyongyang



    Gen Ri Yong-ho leaves office "because of illness". Viewed as a key ally of Kim Jong-un, he helped the new dictator during the power transition in December. A successor has not yet been named.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - In a short statement, North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA announced that North Korea army chief Ri Yong-ho had been removed from his posts "because of illness". The move was unexpected. Ri was close to the country's dictator, Kim Jong-un.

    For South Korean analysts, Ri was one of the key supporters of the young leader during the transition of power following Kim Jong-il's death id December. Mr Ri helped the latter's son reorganise the military, which is North Korea's main power base.

    In Seoul, a source in the Unification Ministry said that the move was "very unusual" and that it shakes up the Communist nation's rigid authoritarian structure.

    The army chief regularly appeared in public events and few accept the usual health reason for his departure.

    Some analysts believe that Kim Jong-un decided to remove the army chief to replace him with someone younger and closer to the Communist Party. The influential army remains under observation because of its nuclear ambitions.

    A hero of the revolution, Ri was almost an outsider to the country's political system.

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    See also

    17/07/2012 NORTH KOREA
    Obscure general becomes North Korea's new chief of general staff
    Kim Jong-un replaces Ri Yong-ho with Hyon Yong-chol. Unknown to most, the new chief is promoted to the rank of vice marshal even though he became a general only in September 2010 along with North Korea's current dictator who continues to consolidate his power.

    31/05/2016 09:11:00 KOREA
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    Third Kim raised to the rank of general, mystery over the succession continues
    The conference of the Workers' Party of Korea re-elects ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il as general secretary, accepts the appointment of his youngest son as a four-star general. No word has been said yet about Kim Jong-un’s official appointment as successor.

    18/08/2016 16:49:00 KOREA
    One of Kim Il-sung’s “grandchildren” asks for political asylum in South Korea

    Thae Yong-ho was number two at the North Korean embassy in London. Now he is in Seoul. It is unclear whether he will remain in the peninsula or move to a "third country". He is the highest-ranking political refugee to have abandoned the regime in Pyongyang. He and his wife are from elite North Korean political families. The diplomat’s father was General Thae, a hero in the war against the Japanese.



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