Kim Jong Un Replaces Military Chief

Just two days after Ri Yong Ho, North Korea’s general military chief and vice marshal to the North Korean People’s Army, was ousted, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has assumed his role. By putting himself in control of the 1.2 million-person military, the late dictator Kim Jong Il’s son has further consolidated his control over North Korea. Kim does have the opportunity now, however, to use military resources to help the boost economy of his isolated and impoverished country. “Kim could have created a lot of instability and opposition by suddenly firing Ri Yong Ho, one of the most influential figures in the military,” said a senior research fellow at Seoul’s Sejong Institute. “By raising Kim’s authority over the army, the regime is able to wield more control over the military leadership.” Though North Korea’s neighbor to the South has no say in the matter, a senior regional economist at Barclays Capital in Singapore said the move is actually good for Seoul. “The transition has been smoother and faster than expected and I think this points us to more stability in North Korea and capital markets.”