Feared North Korean General Promoted to Key Military Position

By Medha Bhagwat


General Jo Kyong-chol has also previously assisted the Supreme Leader in consolidating his powers when his father and predecessor Kim Jong-il died in 2011.


(Source: Twitter)


North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un has promoted a feared general Jo Kyong-chol to the country's most powerful decision-making body, the Central Military Commission (CMC). Known as the "Angel of Death", Kyong-chol was the mastermind who oversaw the purging and execution of senior officials which also included Kim's uncle Jang Song-thaek in 2013.


The "shadowy" general is believed to be one of the most important officials of Kim as he assisted the North Korean leader in consolidating his power after his father and the previous leader Kim Jong-il passed away in 2011.


According to Michael Madden, a fellow of The Stimson Center in Washington DC and the sole author and editor of the website North Korea Leadership Watch, the appointment of Kyong-chol to the CMC is a huge indication that Kim is 'tightening control'.


Commenting on the general's new duties and responsibilities, Madden is of the opinion that Kyong-chol will be in charge of imprisoning and executing North Korean elites in the military and the ruling party WPK.


The prison in authoritarian nation, in words of Madden is a place from where individuals do not emerge alive. "When we talk about prison for North Korean elites, we are talking about places where there is no natural light and if you go into one you do not leave there alive," he said.


In case of executions, it varies according to the situation. Most common is the one where the "disobedient malcontent" is shot three times by members of the firing squad. Another method includes being restrained to the ground as a military tank is run over them, The Mirror reported.


Madden however, believes that this decision of Kim can also be understood as a "warning" to the top executives of all ranks and stations to shape up because the CMC exercises monitoring and investigative authority over civilian officials in the party as well as the state.


"This indicates Kim Jong-un tightening control. There could be a matter of he and General Jo cracking down on certain cohorts in the military," he added.


This announcement comes as North Korea appears to be preparing to launch its seventh nuclear test in a show of force against its neighbor in the South and the United States.



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