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N. Korea confirms appointment of Ri Yong-gil as KPA chief of staff

All Headlines 09:35 October 10, 2013

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean media on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Ri Yong-gil as the Korean People's Army (KPA) chief of general staff.

Ri's appointment to the senior post had been suspected since August when he was seen making public appearances as a four-star general and was consistently mentioned ahead of Jang Jong-nam, the minister of People's Armed Forces, in various public announcements.

The confirmation was made when the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid respects to his farther and grandfather on the 68th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang. The palace is a mausoleum where the embalmed bodies of former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lie in state.

The country's official wire service said Kim paid his respects to his grandfather and father at midnight and that Ri was present along with Choe Ryong-hae, the director of the military General Political Bureau, and other senior ranking officers.

Ri formally commanded the KPA 5th corps in North Korea's Kangwon Province on the east coast before being tapped as head of operations at KPA general staff earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the former head of general staff Gen. Kim Kyok-sik has not been seen since Aug. 25 when he attended a ceremony to mark the 53rd anniversary of Kim Jong-il's start of the Songun revolutionary leadership.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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