Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

North Korea 'replaces top three military officials'

North Korea 'replaces top three military officials'

South Korea's Yonhap news agency says all three have been replaced ahead of the 12 June summit in Singapore, the first meeting between sitting leaders of the USA and North Korea.

This picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 24 April 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) inspecting an underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North. Picture: AFP PHOTO/KCNA via KNS.

The reshuffle was confirmed yesterday by a senior usa official, speaking anonymously to Reuters.

The chief of general staff Ri Myong Su has been replaced by his deputy Ri Yong Gil, according to Yonhap which cited intelligence sources.

In the run-up to the US-North Korean summit, several parties, including Japan, have expressed concern that the US may not be sufficiently rigorous in demanding an end to North Korea's nuclear program.

Mattis has tended to stay away from commenting publicly on the upcoming summit, which Trump has confirmed will take place in Singapore on June 12, and instead deferred to the State Department.

Also, General Kim Su-gil replaced Kim Jong-gak as director of the powerful General Political Bureau of the KPA, according to North Korean state media last month.

Since the North signalled at the start of this year that it was open to a rapprochement with the South, with which it is still technically at war, Mr Kim has met Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korea's Moon Jae-in and has floated a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin this year.

Trump said one thing that could come out of the summit is an agreement formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War, which was concluded only with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Washington wants North Korea to quickly give up all its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way in return for sanctions and economic relief.

But North Korea's leadership is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says global sanctions on North Korea will only be lifted when Pyongyang takes concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program.

'The nuclear weapons are a side issue, ' he said.

Its nuclear weapons programme has demonstrated advances in ballistic missile technology that experts believe now threatened the United States mainland.

The North appears to have brought in new figures amid the changes in inter-Korean relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula as the previous officials lacked flexibility in thinking ...

All of the newly promoted officials are younger than their predecessors, including 63-year-old Ri Yong Gil, who is 21 years younger than Ri Myong Su.

Pompeo briefed Kang on the results of North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol's trip to the U.S.

That official said USA negotiators' efforts to press for definitions of immediate, comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation by North Korea had run into opposition from the White House.

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