North Korea Army Chief Ri Yong Ho fired from all posts due to “illness”, state TV says

By on Jul 16, 2012 in Asia, International, Politics Comments

North Korea Army Chief Ri Yong Ho was fired recently from all his posts, with state TV noting that he was relieved due to unspecified “illness”, but some observers say that there could be other reasons behind his removal.

As noted at Bloomberg on Monday, July 16, 2012, Korean Central News Agency announced on Sunday that Ri Yong Ho was ousted from all his duties and cited health concerns but did not specify what kind of sickness and what his latest health condition is.

Ri Yong Ho, 69, who was appointed Chief of General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in February 2009, was also vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission and held top posts in the ruling Workers’ Party. No successor has been announced as of this writing.

Meanwhile, Cheong Seong Chang, an analyst who cited recent conversations with defectors and contacts in the North, reportedly believed that the decision to fire Ri Yong Ho could be part of a power struggle, since he is being considered to be a threat to the throne that Kim Jong-un inherited from his late father, Kim Jong-Il.

Ri Yong Ho was most likely fired for resisting the Workers’ Party leadership, mainly on mobilizing soldiers for economic initiatives. The party is on board with Kim Jong Un‘s decision to improve the economy through flagship construction projects over bolstering military might.” Cheong was quoted in the report.

“Being passed over like that indicates he was being reigned in. A dictator has to put mechanisms in place to prevent coups and challenges to his power. This will not only have been aimed at this individual but it will also serve as a signal to others.” Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, told The Daily Telegraph.



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