February 21, 2024

ANALYSIS: A History of North Korean Military Purges

The North Korean armed forces are in political retreat, pushed aside by the civilian bureaucracy

SEOUL – North Korea has acquired a new Armed Forces minister, the third in a less than a year, but not much is known about General Jang Jong Nam who replaced Kim Kyok Sik, widely believed to be a person behind the shelling of Yeonpyong Island and the sinking of a South Korean corvette in 2010.

The sudden promotion of Jang Jong Nam (or the sudden dismissal of Kim Kyok Sik) reminds us that the North Korean military is now in the midst of a major purge, with little precedents in the country’s history.