[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
North Korea names new military chief
State media say Hyon Yong-chol is appointed vice marshal after his predecessor was removed from the post due to illness.
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 00:56
State media said Ri Yong-ho, right, was relieved from all his duties due to illness [EPA]

North Korea has named a new vice marshal in the army, state media reports, a day after it emerged that the country's army chief had been relieved of duties.

The decision to appoint Hyon Yong-chol was taken on Monday by the ruling party's central military commission and the country's national defence commission, the official news agency KCNA said.

Little is known about Hyon, who became a general in September 2010 along with five others including new leader Kim Jong-un and his aunt Kim Kyong-hui.

He is a member of the party's 120-member central committee. But he has not joined the central committee's powerful military commission, which is chaired by Kim.

State media said on Monday that Ri Yong-ho had been relieved of all his posts due to illness.

He was regarded as one of the key figures who has helped support the young Kim in the transition following the death in December of his father Kim Jong-il, the longtime leader of the reclusive state.

Ri, who became head of the army in 2009 with the official title Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, had often been seen accompanying the young Kim on visits to military bases in recent months.

South Korean officials said they were surprised at the speed of Ri's dismissal, and that it was done so publicly.

"We will keep monitoring closely the situation in the North," said Kim Hyung-suk, the South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman.

Ri was one of seven top party and military cadres who accompanied Kim when he walked alongside the hearse carrying the body of Kim Jong-il during his funeral.

The seven - including Kim's powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek - were considered central figures in bolstering the new regime led by Kim, who is believed to be in his late 20s.

293

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
Parents unable to look after children are marrying them off at a tender age, exposing them to maternal deaths.
A US outbreak of algae-produced biotoxins that attack animals'?? brains also poses a grave risk to humans.
Israel has re-arrested dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank, an act a human rights group says is 'unjustified'.
New measures needed as dozens of citizens fighting with Islamic State pose home-grown terror threat, PM Abbott says.
join our mailing list