North Korea 'replaces top three military officials'

North Korea 'replaces top three military officials'

North Korea 'replaces top three military officials'

The president plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore, the first leaders' summit between two countries that are still formally at war.

The shuffle was confirmed by an anonymous usa official, who did not identify the outgoing figures, Reuters reports.

While the Syrian President's office is yet to announce the visit, just the suggestion that Mr Assad has asked to visit North Korea will affect the White House efforts to define an agenda for Mr Trump's planned June 12 summit in Singapore with Mr Kim.

The appointments could not be immediately confirmed.

Whether such projects will amount to anything hinges on whether the Trump-Kim meeting even takes place next week in Singapore.

But South Korean analysts who spoke to local newspaper Chosun Ilbo say Kim is making the move not necessarily to remove disloyal personnel, but to mitigate the risk of opposition from officers who oppose denuclearization.

Washington wants North Korea to quickly give up all its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way in return for sanctions and economic relief.

"The issue of South Korean detainees and the issue of North Korean waitresses are completely separate", Cho said.

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'They are shaping these guys up because there is going to be a lot of foreign interaction, ' Madden said.

The officials who reportedly were dropped are from some of the highest reaches of the North's military structure, including Ri Myong Su, the chief of general staff for the Korean People's Army. They include evangelical missionaries Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-ki and Choi Chun-gil, who were detained in October 2013, October 2014, and December 2014, respectively.

"There may have been an internal decision to set the military in proper order" after the incident, Nam said.

Other replaced officials include Pak Yong Sik and Ri Myong Su.

To underscore the challenges in following North Korean affairs, the Yonhap agency reported erroneously in February 2016 that Ri Yong Gil had been executed as part of high-level purges.

In the early 2000s, Ri was commander of an Army unit that defends the perimeter around Pyongyang, a sensitive position that Gause said is traditionally "personally selected" by the leader of the country.

'If Kim Jong Un is set on making peace with the USA and South Korea and dealing away at least part of the nuclear programme, he will have to put the KPA´s influence in a box and keep it there, ' said Ken Gause, director of the International Affairs Group at CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organisation.

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo on Saturday said he was cautiously optimistic.

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