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» 07/20/2012
NORTH KOREA
Purges, killings and new economy: Kim Jong-un's grab for real power
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
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.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - A gun battle broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office last Monday. Some 20 to 30 soldiers died in the incident, this according to South Korea's main daily, Chosun Ilbo, which cited South Korean intelligence sources.

Ri's sacking and replacement with General Hyon Yong-chol (a loyalist of the new dictator, Kim Jong-un) surprised many analysts. Sources told AsiaNews that a final struggle is underway in Pyongyang for real power.

After he took over from his father Kim Jong-il, who died in December, Kim Jong-un now appears to be "taking power away from the generals."

The gun battle apparently broke out when General Choe Ryong-hae (another Kim Jong-un loyalist) tried to arrest Ri, triggering the reaction of his body guards.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the fire fight," said one source.

Two days after Ri's removal, Kim Jong-un proclaimed himself marshal and decided to take over North Korea's dying economy, one of the poorest in the world.

The young dictator set up a 'political bureau' to manage economic affairs, which until recently had been a prerogative of the military.

"In the past, the government had no say in the economy. The military controlled everything. Now things will change," a source told AsiaNews.

 


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See also
12/21/2011 NORTH KOREA
North Korean soldiers stealing food from people, as everyone fears the worst
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
07/30/2012 NORTH KOREA
As Kim Jong-un plays in the park, uncle takes the country
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
09/28/2010 NORTH KOREA
Third Kim raised to the rank of general, mystery over the succession continues
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
03/17/2010 NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong-il grooms a "bulldog" as heir
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
12/20/2004 NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong-il's son escapes assassination attempt

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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