Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un dismisses North Korea’s second military officer

North Korea has ousted Pak Jong-chon, the second most powerful military man after leader Kim Jong-un, state media reported.

Pak, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission and secretary of the party’s Central Committee, was replaced by Ri Yong-gil at the committee’s annual meeting held last week, the official KCNA news agency reported on Sunday.

No reason was given for the change. Pyongyang regularly renews his leadership, and the party’s annual meeting has often been used to announce personnel changes and major policy decisions.

State television showed Pak sitting in the front row of the podium with his head bowed during the meeting, while other members raised their hands to vote on personnel issues. Subsequently, his seat appeared unoccupied.

He was also absent from photos released Monday by the official KCNA news agency of Kim’s New Year’s Day visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which houses the bodies of his grandfather and father, unlike in October, when Pak accompanied Kim on a trip to the palace to mark a party anniversary.

The party’s Central Military Commission, chaired by Kim, is considered the most powerful military decision-making body in the country, above the Defense Ministry.

Pak’s replacement comes at a time when Kim advocates developing new ICBMs and a larger nuclear arsenal to counter the United States and South Korea as keys to the isolated country’s 2023 defense strategy.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.