Jang Chang-ha Identified as Head of North Korea’s Missile General Bureau, Says Seoul

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea's unification ministry announced Thursday that Jang Chang-ha, a key North Korean official, is leading an agency presumed to be in charge of North Korea's nuclear force expansion.

Yonhap News Agency reports that Jang, president of the Academy of National Defense Science, was identified as the head of the Missile General Bureau. The identification came from the name tag on Jang's military uniform, as seen in photos released by North Korean state media.

The bureau's flag features a symbol of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear weapons, indicating its role in North Korea's nuclear force project. The existence of this bureau became public knowledge in February of this year. Observers believe it was established in April 2016 to oversee North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Jang was promoted to the rank of general last November due to his contribution to the development of the Hwasong-17 ICBM. He is among those officials who are blacklisted under U.N. sanctions, as well as by South Korea and the United States, for their involvement in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile activities.

The ministry also added that it is closely monitoring any change in the status of Ri Son-gwon, the head of the United Front Department, which is responsible for inter-Korean relations, within the ruling Workers' Party.

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