Possible power struggle underway
Reuters is reporting that the ‘purging’ of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho earlier this week may be part of a wider reorganisation of the government being undertaken by Kim Jong-un and his powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek.
The Vice Marshall was removed apparently ‘due to illness’, an often used terminology for a purge in communist states. He has been replaced by Hyon Yong-chol of whom little is known other than he is a member of the 120 strong membership of the Central Committee.
It seems that there were other replacements made during the course of the week and that a special bureau is being established to ‘experiment’ with agricultural and economic reforms. If this is true then Reuters suggests that the bureau will take over the running of the economy which was previously in the hands of the military. It is probably that it was this change that was resisted by Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho who was made army chief under Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il.