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  • » 07/17/2012, 00.00

    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.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - One day after Ri Yong-ho was removed as chief of general staff "due to illness," Kim Jong-un's regime has already found a replacement, General Hyon Yong-chol, who was named vice marshal. The son of the late 'dear leader' Kim Jong-il is the only marshal.

    The decision was taken by the National Defence Commission, North Korea's official news agency KCNA reported. The move has surprised many observers since Hyon became a general only in September 2010 and is not from the leadership's inner circle.

    However, the choice does reflect Kim Jong-un's strong desire to take full control of the military's huge power.

    When Hyon was promoted to the rank of general, so were Kim Jong-un and his aunt Kim Kyong-Hui, who is grooming the new dictator. This might explain why the new chief of general staff was picked.

    According to Juche, North Korea's ideology of self-reliance and militarism developed by the father of the nation Kim Il-sung, soldiers and peasants are the backbone of the country.

    In 2000, Kim Il-sung's son Kim Jong-il launched his military-first policy, making the military a priority in resource allocation. The latter also urged his son to follow his path of relying on the military to hold onto power.

    Despite being always on the edge of economic disaster, North Korea maintains one of the largest permanent militaries in the world in relation to the population.

     

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    See also

    16/07/2012 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.

    31/05/2016 09:11:00 KOREA
    Failed launch in Pyongyang missile test

    South Korean military: "Ready for any eventuality." Uncertainty over type of technology used. The new vice president of the North Korean Workers' Party arrives in China for a visit, "official but not announced".

     



    28/09/2010 NORTH KOREA
    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.



    20/07/2012 NORTH KOREA
    Purges, killings and new economy: Kim Jong-un's grab for real power
    After taking over in December, the young dictator has had to put up with the generals. Now, with the sacking of the chief of General Staff, which led to a gun fight that might have killed and wounded 40 people, and the creation of a political bureau to run the economy, changes are coming to the top. A "final struggle" for power is underway, source tells AsiaNews.



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