by WorldTribune Staff, June 4, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un reportedly fired his top three military generals in late May.
Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12.
State media revealed that Kim Su-Gil, said to be a “highly trusted” lieutenant of Kim Jong-Un, has replaced Kim Jong-Gak as the director of the North Korean military’s powerful General Political Bureau (GPB).
The chief of general staff, Ri Myong-Su, has been replaced by his deputy Ri Yong-Gil, according to Yonhap, which cited intelligence sources.
Related: Report: N. Korea plans Pyongyang-type controls for mountainous province, May 29, 2018
Defense Minister Pak Yong-Sik has been succeeded by former first vice minster No Kwang-Chol, the sources said.
Observers said the move by Kim was aimed at keeping a tight rein on the Korean People’s Army (KPA) amid efforts to jump-start economic development and engage with the world.
Ken Gause, director of the International Affairs Group at CNA, said: “If Kim Jong-Un is set on making peace with the U.S. and South Korea and dealing away at least part of the nuclear program, he will have to put the KPA’s influence in a box and keep it there.”
Gause added, “This reshuffle has brought to the fore the officers who can do just that. They are loyal to Kim Jong-Un and no one else.”
Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Vladivostok in September, the RIA news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources.