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NKorea names new army vice marshal: state media

SEOUL (AFP): North Korea has named Hyon Yong-Chol to the post of vice marshal of the army, state media said Tuesday, a day after it emerged that the country's army chief had been relieved of all his posts.

"Hyon Yong-Chol was awarded the title of vice marshal of the Korean People's Army," said the official KCNA news agency in a brief statement.

The decision was taken Monday by the ruling party's central military commission and the country's national defence commission, said the statement.

State media announced Monday that army chief Ri Yong-Ho had been relieved of all his posts due to illness.

Vice marshal Ri was regarded as one of the key figures who supported new leader Kim Jong-Un in the transition following the death in December of his father Kim Jong-Il who ruled the reclusive state for 17 years.

Analysts expressed skepticism about the official reason for his departure and said the move showed Jong-Un tightening his control over the powerful military.

Ri became head of the North's 1.2 million-strong armed forces -- one of the world's largest -- in 2009 and had often been seen accompanying Kim Jong-Un on visits to military bases this year.

A meeting of top officials on Sunday took the decision to strip him of all his posts.

He had been a member of the ruling party's highest body, which has only a handful of members, and a vice-chairman of the central military commission, according to KCNA.


NKorea  Army  

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