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North Korean political reshuffle claims army chief of staff

Oct. 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The head of North Korea's armed forces has become the latest major military officer to be replaced by the country's new leader, South Korean officials say.

Gen. Kim Kyok-sik, who was serving a second stint as chief of staff of the Korean People's Army has been fired as part of a reshuffle to install officers directly loyal to leader Kim Jong-un, The New York Times reported Thursday.

While analysts say Kim, 74, was removed from his position during an August meeting of the Central Military Commission, state media did not confirm the action until Thursday.

Gen. Ri Yong-gil has been named the new chief of staff by Kim, who has now replaced 44 percent of the country's 218 top military, party and government officials, South Korea's Ministry of Unification said in a report.

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