North Korea Kim appoints a new No 2 change at

North Korea, Kim appoints a new No. 2: change at the top of the armed forces

by foreign editor

Marshal Kim Jong-un ousted Pak Jong Chon, replaced by Ri Tong Gil. State media does not specify the reason for the exchange

Marshal Kim Jong-un ousted the head of North Korea’s armed forces, Pak Jong Chon, number 2 of the Central Military Commission after the leader of Pyongyang, was replaced by Ri Yong Gil at the end of the sixth plenum of the Central Committee of the Labor Party. According to the official release released by North Korean media at the end of the meeting, which does not specify the reason for the replacement, Ri was appointed vice president of the commission, which is chaired by Kim himself. Pak attended the polls with his head bowed and was instead absent from official photos, including those released after the Marshal and senior officials visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which houses the remains of Kim’s grandfather, the founder of the democratic people , Republic of Korea Kim Il-sung and his father Kim Jong-il are preserved.

Observers note that reshuffles in Pyongyang’s leadership are quite common: Ri previously held senior positions in North Korea’s defense, including chief of staff and defense minister. This makes him the second most senior official in North Korea after Kim himself. His appointment comes at the end of a “record” year in which Pyongyang has launched about 70 missiles, eight of which were intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and coincides with the leader’s order to “exponentially” expand its nuclear arsenal, with the Development, among other things, of a new ICBM capable of “rapid counterattack”.

Pak’s rise had begun in 2015, and by 2020 – the year he was also promoted to the Politburo led by Kim – he had been promoted to a four-star general. He had recently come under the spotlight for fierce criticism of joint South Korean-US military exercises, which Pyongyang – he said in November – “can no longer condone military villains and provocations”. When three drones sent in response to rival invaders from Seoul went undetected by the North’s defense systems in late December, tensions between the two Koreas arose that may have marred his career. “Pak may have taken responsibility for the failure of the security operation,” told CNN Oh Gyeong-sup, a staffer at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.

Jan 2, 2023 (change Jan 2, 2023 | 3:01 p.m.)