N. Korea replaces party secretary, defense minister in major reshuffle

SEOUL– North Korea has carried out a reshuffle of its top military officials, including the dismissal of Pak Jong-chon, secretary of the ruling party’s Central Committee (CC) and vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, according to its state media Sunday.

“Pak Jong-chon was dismissed and Ri Yong Gil was elected as secretary of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK),” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, announcing the results of a key plenary session of the party. Ri is a former defense minister.

North Korea did not provide reasons for the dismissal of Pak, who was promoted to a marshal in the North’s military in October last year after becoming a four-star general in 2019.

Kang Sun-nam was appointed as new defense minister, and Pak Su-il, the social security minister, was named the chief of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff, replacing Ri Thae-sop. Ri was instead appointed the public security minister.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has carried out reshuffles of his senior party and military aides more often in recent years in an apparent bid to elicit their loyalty and tighten his grip on power, South Korean officials and watchers said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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