Report: Kim Wants to 'Gird for a War'

North Korean leader is said to have fired his top general, wants more weapons and military drills
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2023 8:26 AM CDT
Report: Kim Wants to 'Gird for a War'
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, Kim Jong Un, right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu are seen in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 27. The content of this image is as provided and can't be independently verified.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Looks like Kim Jong Un is cleaning house and boosting his war prep. First, Gen. Pak Su Il, the nation's top general, was "dismissed" after about seven months on the job, per a KCNA report cited by Reuters. Pak, who served as chief of the General Staff, is said to have been replaced by Gen. Ri Yong Gil, who once served as the North's defense minister and the army's chief of staff. KCNA notes that additional "leading commanding officers" were also let go, transferred, or appointed, though it didn't name names, per CNN.

Citing state media, that outlet reports that Kim wants to "gird for a war," and comments he made Wednesday during a gathering of the Central Military Commission seem to bolster that. The North Korean leader also indicated that he wants to expand weapons production and have the military hold more drills that include the country's newest weapons and strategies. Kim signed an order that asked to implement "important military measures," though he didn't elaborate on what that meant, the AP quoted KCNA as reporting.

The KCNA report notes these preparations are necessary, "given the grave political and military situation prevailing in the Korean Peninsula," per CNN. The report didn't specifically mention South Korea and the United States, who are set to hold military drills later this month, but it did say it was analyzing "the military moves of the chief culprits of [the] deteriorated situation" in the region. North Korean officials also say plans for a Sept. 9 military parade are in the works, which would be the country's third this year. The AP notes the North has never held more than two in the same year. (More Kim Jong Un stories.)

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