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PoliticsNorth Korea

Kim Jong Un sacks military chief, orders war preparations

August 10, 2023

The North Korean leader called for fresh drills and for weapons production to be ramped up. He also replaced a member of the military's top brass for reasons unknown.

Kim Jong Un firing a rifle
Kim Jong Un recently toured several major weapons factories and now wants to boost productionImage: KCNA/KNS/dpa/picture alliance

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismissed the military's top general and called for war preparations to be stepped up in an offensive way, state media reported on Thursday.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Kim sacked Chief of the General Staff Pak Su Il and replaced him with General Ri Yong Gil, who held the post for two stints previously and also served as the country's defense minister.

The state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Pak was "dismissed" without providing further details.

Ri, meanwhile, was once thought to have been executed when he was sacked in 2016, only to reappear a few months later in another senior post.

'Full war preparations'

Wednesday's meeting was about "the issue of making full war preparations," KCNA said.

It came days after Kim toured several major weapons factories.

He called for "all the munitions industrial establishments to push ahead with the mass-production of various weapons and equipment," according to KCNA.

Kim set a target to boost weapons production and also called for the military to conduct drills with the country's latest weapons.

North Korea is set to stage a military parade on September 9 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Day of the Foundation of the Republic.

The United States and South Korea are scheduled to hold military drills later this month.

zc/lo (AFP, Reuters)