Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Northeast Asia Matters has an excellent summary about this week’s skirmish between the DPRK and ROK navies in the West (Yellow) Sea, which can save the casual reader a lot of time and conflicting information.
Chosun Ilbo reports that General Kim Kyok-sik, was in the area conducting an inspection at the time of the skirmish. Born around 1938, Gen. Kim is a member of the KWP Central Committee and began his career as deputy military attache in Syria in the early 1970’s. A tactical expert he was a regional squad commander in the early 1980’s and became a member of the Supreme People’s Assembly starting in 1990. He was elected a member of the KWP Central Committee in December of 1991 and promoted to Colonel-General in April 1992, on Kim Il-sung’s 80th birthday promotions list. In October 1994, he became commanding officer of the IV Army Corps in South Hwanghae Province. He was promoted to General in February 1997, appearing on the promotions list in celebration of Kim Jong-il’s 55th birthday. In 2007, Gen. Kim was appointed as Chief of the General Staff, but in February of this year he was replaced by Gen. Ri Yong-ho. He is currently commanding officer of IV Army Corps which has jurisdiction over the West (Yellow) Sea, and for several reasons this appointment may not be the demotion as portrayed in the Chosun Ilbo report.