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N. Korea presumed to have replaced chief of military intelligence bureau

All News 11:29 May 13, 2020

By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is believed to have replaced the chief of its primary intelligence agency accused of a string of secret operations against South Korea, including the 2010 sinking of a warship, according to Seoul's latest who's who in Pyongyang's ruling elite.

Rim Kwang-il, an army general, replaced Jang Kil-song last December as head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North's military intelligence agency, according to the who's who book, titled "Information on key figures in North Korea."

The agency is known for its involvement in the 2010 torpedo attack on the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan that killed 46 sailors on board. Leading the agency at the time was Kim Yong-chol, a hawkish general who later served as counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in nuclear negotiations.

Kim was replaced by Jang as he was named in the same year to lead the United Front Department, a key party organ dealing with inter-Korean affairs.

Born in 1965, Rim was promoted to lieutenant general in 2017. He was presumed to have been appointed as a member of the ruling party's central military committee last December, the data showed.

The data did not provide other details on the reason for the replacement. Rim's appointment has not been mentioned in Pyongyang's state media reports yet.

North Korea is also presumed to have replaced Yun Jong-rin with Kwak Chang-sik as the Supreme Guard commander in charge of security for leader Kim Jong-un.

Kwak is a little-known figure for outside watchers but his name started to appear in state media reports last year. He was appointed as a member of the ruling party's central committee last December, the data showed.

The data on North Korean personnel was based on the North's state media reports and intelligence analysis. The unification ministry has published updated info books on the North every year.


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