Global Public Square

Editor’s note: Global Public Square speaks with Charles Armstrong, director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, about a surprise change in military leadership, nuclear plans and a mystery woman in North Korea.

Reports say that North Korea’s army chief, Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, has been removed from all posts because of illness. What do you think is behind the move, and how much of a surprise is this?

Ri Yong Ho was widely considered number three in the ruling power structure at the time of Kim Jong Il’s death, and his removal suggests a significant shakeup in the hierarchy as Kim Jong Un distances himself from his father’s establishment and asserts his own power.

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