HomeTop StoriesNorth Korea's Kim fires top general, calls for war preparations

North Korea’s Kim fires top general, calls for war preparations

By Hyunsu Yim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fired the army’s top general and called for greater preparations for the possibility of war, an increase in arms production and expansion of military exercises, state media KCNA reported Thursday.

Kim made the remarks during a Central Military Commission meeting that discussed plans for countermeasures to deter North Korea’s enemies, which it did not name, the report said.

General Ri Yong Gil was appointed to replace the army’s top general, Chief of General Staff Pak Su Il, KCNA reported, without elaborating. It was unclear whether Ri would retain his role as defense minister.

Kim also set a target for expanding arms production capacity, the report said, without providing details. Last week he visited arms factories where he called for more rocket motors, artillery and other weapons to be built.

Photos released by KCNA showed Kim pointing to Seoul and areas around the South Korean capital on a map.

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The United States has accused North Korea of ​​supplying Russia with weapons for its war in Ukraine, including artillery shells, rockets and missiles. Russia and North Korea have denied those claims.

Kim also called on the military to conduct exercises with the country’s latest weapons and equipment to keep its troops ready for battle, the report said.

North Korea will host a militia parade on September 9 to mark the 75th anniversary of Republic Foundation Day. North Korea has a number of paramilitary groups that it uses to bolster its armed forces.

The US and South Korea are holding military exercises between August 21 and August 24, which the North considers a threat to their security.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim and Josh Smith in Seoul; editing by Stephen Coates)

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