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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.

    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.

    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.

    20/04/2010 KOREA
    For a North Korean dissident, Pyongyang sank the Cheonan
    A South Korean activist says he got the information from a North Korean officer. South Korean authorities have not confirmed the information. In a tearful speech, President Lee tells the nation that he will find out what happened.

    05/02/2014 KOREA
    Seoul and Pyongyang agree: family reunions to be held on February 20
    The representatives of the two governments open up to the possibility of holding meetings both directly and via the Internet. The North accepts the conditions of the South, but hopes that Seoul will cancel joint military exercises with the United States. The lat round of reunions (September 2013) was canceled at the last moment .



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