SEOUL—North Korea named Hyon Yong Chol the new military chief Tuesday to replace Ri Yong Ho who was relieved of his duties a day prior.
The Workers’ Party Central Committee Politburo held a meeting Sunday, and decided to relieve Vice Marshal Ri of all his duties, including his vice chairman position in the Central Military Commission and his post in the ruling Workers’ Party politburo.
The reasons given were that Marshal Ri is ill.
North Korean experts are cynical as to whether Marshal Ri is ill, or if it was merely the excuse given in a political shakeup by the young and relatively new leader Kim Jong Un.
Dr. Yuseok Seo, from the Institute of North Korea Studies in Seoul told NTD Television, Kim’s position may not be entirely stable.
“The regime with its revised military authorities, generals, and delegates may lead Kim Jong Un to become vulnerable if there’s a power struggle from his family members,” he said.
Marshal Ri was appointed military chief three years ago by the last leader of the communist regime and the current leader’s father, the late Kim Jong Il. Marshal Ri was frequently seen at the Kim Jong Un’s side at many public appearances.
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