SEOUL: North Korean state media on Sunday confirmed the country has a new military chief following earlier reports in Seoul that the former holder of the post had been executed.
Ri Myong-Su, former people’s security minister, was referred to as “chief of the Korean People’s Army General Staff” when the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on an army exercise guided by leader Kim Jong-Un.
Ri Myong-Su was again mentioned in a separate KCNA report on Kim’s inspection of an air force exercise.
His predecessor Ri Yong-Gil was reportedly executed early this month in what would be the latest in a series of purges and executions of top officials.
Ri Yong-Gil was accused of forming a political faction and corruption, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing a source familiar with North Korean affairs.
In May last year, South Korea’s spy agency said Kim had his defence chief Hyon Yong-Chol executed, reportedly with an anti-aircraft gun.
Hyon’s fate was never confirmed by Pyongyang, but he has never been seen or heard of since. Some analysts have suggested he was purged and imprisoned.
Reports, some confirmed and some not, of purges, executions and disappearances have been common since Kim took power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.
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