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N. Korean defense minister relegated five times in a year

N. Korean defense minister relegated five times in a year

Updated July. 30, 2014 07:09

한국어

Jang Jong Nam, a former minister of the People’s Armed Forces (similar to South Korea’s defense minister), appears to have resigned. Some analysts say that North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong Un has resumed taming the military by using a military order insignia.

The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state-run news media, posted its leader’s picture taken at a concert celebrating Victory Day (July 27, the armistice day) on its website on Tuesday. In the picture, Jang Jong Nam with a military insignia representing Sangjang (three stars) was sitting on the third row with commanders.

Kim Jong Un sat side by side with Political Bureau Chief Hwang Pyong So, General Staff Chief Ri Young Gil, People’s Armed Forces Minister Hyon Yong Chul, General Staff ‘s Vice Minister of the Korean People’s Army Byun In Sun, and the People’s Armed Forces Vice Minister Seo Hong Chan. Vice Chiefs of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army sat in the second row and military commanders in the third row. Jang sat in the third row with Kim Sang Ryong, the commander of the Second Corps, and Lee Sung Kook, the commander of the Fourth Corps.

Accordingly, Jang is presumed to lead the First Corps where he served as a commander or the Fifth Corps where Hyon Yong Chul served.

As Jang was relegated to a commander, his rank also seems to have been demoted from Daejang (four stars) to Sangjang (three stars). He was degraded to Sangjang in early Feb. when he was serving as the Minister of People’s Armed Force and returned to Daejang in March. However, he stepped down from the ministerial position in three months and relegated back to Sangjang. Jang, who is from the First Corps, is known to have changed his military order insignias five times (Jungjang -> Sangjang -> Daejang -> Sangjang -> Daejang -> Sangjang ) in just over a year.