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Kim Jong Un dismisses top general, calls for war preparations


North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un dismissed the chief of the General Staff Pak Su Il and called for preparation of war efforts in the possibility of a war, a boost in weapons production and expansion of military drills. The Chief of General Staff had served for just 7 months before he was dismissed. Kim made the comments at a meeting of the Central Military Commission which discussed plans for countermeasures to deter North Korea’s enemies, which it did not name.

Pak Su Il was replaced by General Ri Yong Gil, who previously served as the country’s defence minister, as well as the top commander of its conventional troops. Ri Yong Gil also previously served as the army chief of staff. When he was replaced in 2016 his sacking and subsequent absence from official events sparked reports in South Korea that he had been executed. He reappeared a few months later when he was named to another senior post.

Kim Jong Un has also set his eyes on to set a target for the expansion of weapons production capacity. Last week he had visited weapons factories where he called for more missile engines, artillery and other weapons to be built. Photos released by KCNA showed Kim pointing at Seoul and areas surrounding the South Korean capital on a map.

Kim also called for the military to conduct drills with the country’s latest weapons and equipment to keep its forces ready for combat. North Korea is set to stage a militia parade on Sept. 9, marking the 75th anniversary of the Day of the Foundation of the Republic.

The United States has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine, including artillery shells, rockets and missiles. Russia and North Korea have denied those claims. The United States and South Korea are scheduled to hold military drills between Aug. 21 and 24, which the North sees as a threat to its security.

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