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LinkAsia | Mar 29
Tensions are simmering between North and South Korea. The DPRK regime is threatening nuclear war against South Korea and the United States. South K...
A big week in North Korea. Kim Jong-Un announced some major shuffles in the highest ranks of the military. His top general was asked to step down, and then came a big promotion. Kim Jong-un himself was appointed as marshal of the Korean People's Army. South Korean broadcaster MBC reports on the shakeup and what these changes mean for the future of North Korea.
North Korean state media announced at noon on July 17th that Kim Jong-un was given the title of marshal, the country's top functioning military rank.
Korean Central News Agency:
A decision was made to award the title of marshal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to Kim Jong-un, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.
Kim Jong-un was a four-star general. The promotion means that he skipped the rank of vice marshal. This appointment confirms his power over the military. More military purges and reshuffles are expected, but experts think that Kim has completed taking control of the military. In April, Kim Jong-un filled the military with people close to him. Choe Ryong-hae, known to be part of Jang Sung-taek's faction, was appointed director of the Korean People's Army General Political Bureau. Kim Jong-Gak became the equivalent of defense minister. Choe Pu-il became Deputy Chief of Staff of the KPA General Staff. And, recently Kim Jong-un removed Ri Yong-ho from his post as vice marshal. As Kim cements control over the military, it's possible that the Worker's Party will soon take a lead in large-scale economic reforms. Next month, agricultural reforms, to look for a solution to chronic food shortages, are expected to start.
Jang Sung-jang, Sejong Institute, Chief Researcher:
As Kim Jong-un consolidates control over the military, he will begin economic reforms, like allowing people to earn private profits and reducing the working time at collective farms.
In April, Kim Jong-un said he would not make people tighten their belts again. But experts predict there's little chance that Kim Jong-un will aggressively push for reforms this year, because relations between North and South Korea have stalled over the six-party talks, and because of the upcoming US presidential election.