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Powerful general tied to N. Korea’s WMD programs takes center stage following Jang’s demise

Special to

By”, Lee

SEOUL — Gen. O Kuk-Ryol, believed to have been behind production of counterfeit U.S. dollars and weapons of mass destruction, has re-emerged at the top of North Korea’s hierarchy following the execution of his long-time rival Jang Song-Thaek, sources and officials here said.

The late Jang Song-Thaek, left, and Gen. O Kuk-Ryol. /KCNA

The late Jang Song-Thaek, left, and Gen. O Kuk-Ryol. /KCNA

“O has been spotted frequently in North Korea’s media reports since the downfall of Jang,” a South Korean government official said.

The United Nations described O as “supervising the acquisition abroad of advanced technology for nuclear and ballistics programs” in a list of sanctioned North Korean officials in 2009.

O has long been believed to be a key figure behind the North’s production of counterfeit American currency and nuclear and missile programs as well as controlling a vast apparatus of special forces.

Just after Jang was arrested in mid-November, O returned to the public spotlight, he said.

See Inside North Korea at East-Asia-Intel.

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