North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stepped down as head of the North’s armed forces and called for war preparations to be stepped up by increasing weapons production and moving to more high schools, state media reported today.
These announcements were made yesterday, Wednesday, during a meeting of the Central Military Commission, the North Korean news agency KCNA reported.
Cigarette in hand, the North Korean leader addressed generals by pointing at maps, according to images broadcast by state media, while speaking of “major military actions” against South Korea.
Last week, Kim spent three days, from Thursday to Saturday, visiting major weapons factories.
The meeting of the Central Military Commission came as Seoul and Washington are set to begin their major annual joint military trainings in late August.
Pyongyang sees all of these exercises as rehearsals for an invasion and has repeatedly warned that it will take “overwhelming” measures to respond to them.
During yesterday’s meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismissed Chief of Staff General Park Su Il and replaced him with Vice Admiral Ri Yong Gil, KCNA reported, without giving further details. Rhee had recently served as defense minister.
Park, who was promoted last year, may have been terminated “because he did not demonstrate sufficient ability in the field of military operations ,” says Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute.
According to KCNA, on the agenda of this meeting was “the issue of preparations for an all-out war,” including “acquiring means of stronger strikes” to ensure “a perfect military preparation in the face of a war.”
Kim asked ” all munitions factories to continue mass production of armaments and weapons ,” according to the same source.
“He also called for actual military exercises to be conducted to effectively use the latest developed equipment and weapons.”
Preparations for a grand parade to mark the 75th anniversary of North Korea’s founding on September 9 were also discussed during the meeting.
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