Pyongyang: The abrupt dismissal of North Korea`s military chief from all his posts was designed to remove opposition to major economic reforms about to be initiated by the country`s young leader, Kim Jong-un, according to a report.
An unnamed source revealed that Army Chief Ri Yong-ho was sacked for opposing plans to seize control of economic policy from the military.
The source, with close ties to the governments in Beijing and Pyongyang, said a special cabinet had been created to take over control of the decaying economy from the military, which boasts 1.2 million troops, The Guardian reports.
According to the paper, the military`s mishandling of the economy has been blamed for a crippling famine in the 1990s from which the country never properly recovered.
Ri had been one of the regime`s most enthusiastic champions of the ‘songun’ military policy, first pioneered by the country`s former leader, Kim Jong-il, who died in December last year.
The state-run media said Ri was removed from all his posts, including the influential role of vice-chairman of the ruling party`s central military commission, due to ‘illness’.
According to the paper, his removal was the clearest signal yet that Kim Jong-un is determined to implement long-overdue reforms to save the economy and prevent the regime from imploding.