Kim Jong Un said to replace three aging, top military leaders

Kim Jong Un said to replace three aging, top military leaders

Kim Jong Un said to replace three aging, top military leaders

The decision to move ahead with the summit came after a week of frenzied diplomacy topped off with a top North Korean official visiting the White House to deliver Trump a letter from Kim.

"I think it'll be a process", he said after welcoming top official Kim Yong-chol to the White House.

South Korea's unification ministry confirmed Kim Su Gil's appointment but declined to comment on the others.

Gen Kim Yong-chol, a close aide of the North Korean leader, hand-delivered a letter from Kim to the US President.

But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the USA will not try to topple the regime.

"There would be a denuclearization roadmap coming out of the summit with Trump, and it would be burdensome for Kim to have hawks who could be agitated by any desertion of the nuclear program", said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior fellow at South Korea's Sejong Institute.

"This reshuffle has brought to the fore the officers who can do just that".


Yonhap identified the three officials as defence chief Pak Yong-sik, chief of the Korean People's Army's (KPA) general staff Ri Myong-su, and director of the KPA's General Political Bureau Kim Jong-gak.

The Yonhap report did not address the current health and happiness levels of the three top leaders who were displaced.

"We are not paying for the DPRK (North Korea) delegation and we are not asking others to do so", Heather Nauert, the department's acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, said in a statement.

Those moves compelled Trump to temporarily cancel the summit, set for June 12 in Singapore, and prompted a diplomatic whirlwind as officials from both North and South Korea scrambled to get the summit back on track.

Analysts see the shakeup as an effort to demonstrate Kim's mastery over hardline elements in his military and send a positive signal to the United States.

Trump aims to persuade the North Korean dictator to give up his country's nuclear arsenal in exchange for relief from USA economic sanctions. Trump aims to persuade the North Korean dictator to give up his country's nuclear arsenal in exchange for relief from US economic sanctions. "North Korea can build nukes and ICBMs, but claim they are too poor to pay for foreign travel costs".

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