The Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday, August 10, 2023, that North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un has dismissed his chief of the general staff.
The report added that Kim called for increased weapons production, expansion of military drills, and preparations for the possibility of war.
Kim made these coments at the 7th enlarged meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
According to the North Korean state news agency, the agenda of the meeting, which comes just days after Kim inspected key arms factories, was “the issue of making full war preparations” including “securing more powerful strike means” to ensure “perfect military readiness for a war”.
At the meeting, Kim dismissed Chief of the general staff, Pak Su Il and replaced him with General Ri Yong Gil, the news media disclosed without giving further details.
General Ri Yong Gil currently serves as the Defence Minister of North Korea. With his new appointment, it has not been clarified if he would remain as defence minister or be replaced by someone else.
General Ri Yong Gil previously served as the top commander of its conventional troops. Ri had also previously served as the army chief of staff.
When Ri was replaced in 2016, his sacking and subsequent absence from official events in North Korea sparked speculation in South Korea that he had been executed. Ri reappeared a few months later when he was named to another senior post.
Cheong Seong-chang’s opinion, Pak Su Il, who was promoted to the post late last year, may have been dismissed “because he did not demonstrate sufficient competence in the field of military operations.”
“Kim Jong Un has shown a tendency to quickly replace officials when they are judged to be lacking in the ability to control and perform their duties,” Cheong said.
He added that Ri may have been the “most suitable person” to replace Pak, as he has previously held the position for a long time. Cheong Seong-chang is a researcher at the Sejong Institute.
Kim Urges For Mass-Production Of Weapons
Also, the news report revealed that Kim called for “all the munitions industrial establishments to push ahead with the mass-production of various weapons and equipment” at the meeting.
“He also called for actively conducting actual war drills to efficiently operate (the) newly deployed latest weapons and equipment,” it added.
The report added that Kim set a target for expansion of the country’s weapons production capacity. The report did not provide details.
Last week, Kim visited weapons factories where he called for more missile engines, artillery and other weapons to be built.
Kim reached an “important conclusion on further stepping up the war preparations of the KPA in an offensive way,” the news media said, referring to the North’s military.
The meeting also discussed preparations for a massive parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea on September 9, 2023.
Meanwhile, South Korean news agency said on Thursday that North Korea appears “focused on flexing its military muscle.”
An official from Seoul’s unification ministry told reporters that the latest report appeared to be North Korea’s “own response to the upcoming joint military training between Seoul and Washington.”
The United States and South Korea are scheduled to hold their next military drills between August 21 and 24, 2023. North Korea claims such exercises are a threat to its security and are conducted in preparation for a future invasion of the north.