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Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:22 AM

Kim Jong-Un May Have Just Suppressed a Coup

The South Korean government is investigating unconfirmed intelligence reports that a gun battle, leaving between 20 and 30 soldiers dead, broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office.

The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, reported that some intelligence analysts believe Mr Ri, who has not been seen since his abrupt sacking earlier this week, was injured or killed in the confrontation.
Citing South Korean government officials, it said the gun battle erupted when vice marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the People's Army General Political Bureau, tried to detain Mr Ri while carrying out North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's order to sack him.
Guards protecting Mr Ri, who was a vice marshal, apparently opened fire.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight," one source said.


Kim Jong-Un May Have Just Suppressed a Coup

It appears Kim Jong-un's consolidation of power this week was far more turbulent than outsiders were led to believe. How much more turbulent remains subject to dispute.

On Friday unconfirmed reports emerged from South Korea of a gun battle between North Korean soldiers over the ouster of army chief Ri Yong-ho. According to the South Korean daily The Chosun Ilbo, soldiers led by Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae attempted to detain Ri after he was dismissed from his position on Monday. According to South Korean government officials, that's when guards protecting Ri opened fire on the soldiers in a gun battle that left 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers dead. The source also said "We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight." Backing up that story, an official at South Korea's Ministry of National Defense told The Korea Times that the order may have been an attempt to suppress a military coup. “It is highly likely that Ri’s security squad engaged in a firefight with troops deployed to execute the leadership’s instruction to unseat him and prevent a possible coup against the top military official,” the official said. Western news agencies have been unable to confirm any details of the supposed gun battle, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Ri's departure was not due to an "illness."

That point was cemented today in a blockbuster report by Reuters Benjamin Kang Lim, who cited a source "with ties to both Pyongyang and Beijing" saying that Ri was purged after he opposed Kim's attempt to takeover the North Korean economy, which has historically been under the control of the military. Lim reports that Kim sought to impose a series of agricultural and economic reforms that Ri opposed:


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Reply Kim Jong-Un May Have Just Suppressed a Coup (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Jul 2012 OP
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #1
BlueToTheBone Jul 2012 #2
FedUpWithIt All Jul 2012 #3

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:42 AM

1. Here's the Reuters report:

Exclusive: Kim plans economic change in North Korea

The source added that the cabinet had created a special bureau to take control of the decaying economy from the military, one of the world's largest, which under Kim's father was given pride of place in running the country.

The downfall of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho and his allies gives the untested new leader and his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who married into the Kim family dynasty and is widely seen as the real power behind the throne, the mandate to try to save the battered economy and prevent the secretive regime's collapse.
The changes could herald the most significant reforms by the North in decades. Previous attempts at a more market driven economy have floundered, most recently a drastic currency revaluation in late 2009 which triggered outrage and is widely believed to have resulted in the execution of its chief proponent.

"Ri Yong-ho was the most ardent supporter of Kim Jong-il's 'military first' policy," the source told Reuters, referring to Kim Jong-un's late father who plunged the North deeper into isolation over its nuclear ambitions, abject poverty and political repression.


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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:43 AM

2. Sounds like Un is much better than Il

which is good news for the world. Reforms taking away power from the military is always a good thing. Here's to North Korea joining the World community.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:52 AM

3. There is speculation that Kim Jong Un is anxious to remove economic power from the military

And the "sacking" was a step toward that end. Some reports are saying he has established an economic cabinet and is looking to open up commerce outside NK. There was a lot of devastating corruption in the military, which would divert up to 30% of the food aid toward the elites and military leaders.


I am really hopeful the conditions in North Korea may improving some.

The "disney" show, the more fashionable clothing (including miniskirts), the openness regarding his companion and the invitation to his father's old sushi chef all appear to be very good signs. Korth Korea is certainly one place that could use a little hope.

Fujimoto, the old sushi chef and companion of the young boy, once had this to share about a young Kim Jong Un...

Fujimoto has high hopes for the young leader’s tenure in one of the world’s most isolated and impoverished nations. In Successor of the North: Kim Jong Un, he describes how the teenager would, unbeknownst to his father, went to Fujimoto’s room to bum an Yves Saint Laurent cigarette from the chef. (The book includes a small photograph of one of the cigarette packs.) During one of these clandestine smoke breaks, the young Kim reportedly wondered aloud how, while he was enjoying Rollerblading and horseback riding on the family compound, the North Korean people were faring. “He can lead North Korea in a good direction,” Fujimoto says. “What his grandfather Kim Il Sung couldn’t do, and what his father Kim Jong Il couldn’t do, will be done by Kim Jong Un … I believe he will choose a path of change and reform.” When asked about reports that he would closely follow the policy of his father, Fujimoto says, flatly, “You are wrong.”

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