Other Stories

North Korea replaces head of intelligence agency and Kim's bodyguard: Implications Updated: 2020-05-15 16:37:47 KST

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has unexpectedly replaced both the head of the rogue state's spy agency and his bodyguard in another apparent purge.
That's according to South Korean media reports as Seoul's Unification Ministry published its annual information book on Pyongyang.
The changes in the secretive regime's power structure provides the world a glimpse of its policy changes may that be in state affairs, domestic or foreign policy.
A deeper look into North Korea. It's the topic of our News In-depth with Andray Abrahamian, Researcher at Geroge Mason University Korea.

Let's talk about the latest power shift in the North.
Jang Kil-son, the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau which is the North's military intelligence agency was replaced by Rim Kwang-il, an army general last December.
And this week, North Korea is believed to have replaced the chief of this primary intelligence agency accused of a string of secret operations against South Korea.
What is the Reconnaissance General Bureau and what is its significance?

The unification ministry has published updated info books on the North every year.
But it takes time from when presumptions are made about changes in personnel to when it's confirmed by North Korea.
There have been speculations of changes in the head of the United Front Department, as well as the Supreme Guard commander in charge of security for leader Kim Jong-un.
While we have limited information as to what exactly goes on behind closed doors of the North Korean administration, do we know why there have been changes in personnel? What usually causes these personnel shuffles in North Korea?

What is the process of such leadership changes being announced, or made official?
Why is it that we generally hear "news" of changes, followed by it not being "official" or not having been reported by their state media?

Recently, Kim Jong-un had disappeared from the public eye, and upon his reappearance on May 1st, he attended a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer plant.
The North's state media touted the fertilizer factory as the first key outcome of the "frontal breakthrough" drive, which was in line with the North building an economy independent of external help.
Kim Jong-un said that he has no expectation of the U.S. lifting sanctions anytime soon.
How feasible is this with the current COVID-19 pandemic? What kind of impact has the pandemic had on the North Korean economy?

Seoul announced this week that some non-profit organizations have successfully delivered hand sanitizers to North Korea as part of efforts to provide assistance for its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, we know that there are no publicly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the North, but can we make anything of this?

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the first-ever inter-Korean summit in June, it's been reported that North Korea has not yet responded to calls from South Korea's NGOs.
If North Korea is accepting needed assistance, do you see this playing in the future of inter-Korean peace talks?

With the outbreak of the pandemic, the North had abruptly closed their borders with China.
Those borders have recently been opened back up for trade with China.
Knowing that China is the epicenter of the disease, North Korea seems to be willing to take the risk for the sake of their economy. How big of a role will China play in the North's economy going forward?

How do you expect North Korea to go about dealing with their economic difficulties from here on out?

Andray Abrahamian, Researcher at Geroge Mason University Korea, many thanks for speaking with us this evening. We appreciate it.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
본 저작물 중 본문에 해당하는 뉴스 스크립트(텍스트)는 공공누리 제1유형-출처표시 조건에 따라 이용할 수 있습니다.