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North Korea’s trend of ‘military figures taking positions in ruling party changing’: Analysts

Seoul, July 18 (ANI) Critics are puzzled over Pyongyang’s high-level military reshuffle since Kim Jong un took power in December, and believe the traditional trend of military figures taking a majority of the positions in the country’s ruling Workers’ Party is now changing, according to a report.

When Kim Jong Il died last year, they held more posts than at any previous point during his 17 years in power.

According to The Wall Street Journal, analysts believe the purging of army chief Ri Yong Ho and the removal of two other military leaders, and them being replaced by three civilians, appears to signal a reversal of an established trend.

“I think the tide has turned,” the paper quoted Aidan Foster-Carter, a North Korea watcher at Leeds University in England, as saying.

“Under Kim Jong Il, possibly because his own military credentials weren’t so strong, the military rose significantly. But Kim Jong un’s arrival has been managed by the political party,” Foster-Carter added.

According to the paper, others cautioned that it is too early to know precisely why Ri, a longtime confidante of the Kim family, lost his job.

“North Korea is ‘very mysterious. It’s hard for us to understand exactly what they are up to.But from my understanding, this appears to be political combat,” the paper quoted Zhang Liangui, professor of international strategic research at the Party School of the China Communist Party Central Committee, as saying.

Meanwhile, senior U.S. officials said they were closely monitoring the personnel changes in Pyongyang to gauge whether Kim might pursue a new foreign policy for North Korea.

According to the paper, these officials noted there have already been dramatic changes in the geopolitics of East Asia this year with Myanmar, Pyongyang’s close ally, opening to the West. (ANI)