North Korea replaces head of intelligence agency and Kim’s bodyguard
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un is reported to have replaced two of the highest-ranked officials in the country, as he moves to increase his control over the secretive state.
The head of the country’s main intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), as well as the commander of the Supreme Guard, Kim’s personal bodyguard, were both unexpectedly replaced, according to South Korean media. The shakeup comes despite ongoing uncertainty over the dictator’s health.
Lt. General Rim Kwang-il has been promoted to director of the RGB, which has been responsible for most of North Korea’s espionage and attacks on other nations in the area. Kwak Chang-sik will take over as the commander of the Supreme Guard. “Last year, 80 per cent of the politburo members were replaced and nine of 11 members, or 82 per cent, of the State Affairs Commission were changed,” a ministry official told the Korea Herald.
“This indicates the generation shifts and (Kim’s) focus on performance-based personnel reshuffle.
Sightings of Kim have been rare in recent weeks. He’s been seen just once in the last five weeks, at an event at the start of May, after which rumours began circulating that it was a body double. The report says the position of Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong cannot be confirmed. She has been mentioned recently as a possible successor to Kim.
Acording to the ministry official, she could be part of the Organisation and Guidance Department, Propaganda and Agitation Department or another, unknown post.