North Korea replaces top three military officials

Mattis: Sanctions Stay on N. Korea Until Denuclearization Progress

According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, all three of North Korea's top military leaders have been replaced, the Guardian reports.

North Korea's three most senior military officials have been replaced, a US official told Reuters. Ri Myong-su, 84, chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army, has been replaced by Ri Yong-gil, his deputy.

It quoted Mr Assad as saying on Wednesday: "I am going to visit [North Korea] and meet Kim Jong-un".

Assad's comments came as US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urged Kim to clear and irreversible steps to end North Korea's nuclear programme.

Trump has told reporters that he talked about "ending the war" during his meeting with Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the central committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, at the White House on Friday.

North Korean state media previously confirmed that Army General Kim Su Gil had replaced Kim Jong Gak as director of the KPA's General Political Bureau.

One of the first steps would be reopening rail links and roads between South Korea and the North, a move Moon and Kim agreed to during their April summit.

Trump revived the Singapore summit on Friday after cancelling it a week earlier.

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2014.

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The Trump administration wants the North to "denuclearize", meaning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal, in return for relief from economic sanctions.

'The nuclear weapons are a side issue, ' he said.

"Kim Jong Un has chosen a new leadership who reflects his new approach and can more naturally propagate his new policies to bring stability within the military", the professor said.

There has also been speculation Kim does not wish to leave North Korea for an extended period of time as this may encourage any remaining opponents to his rule to seize the opportunity to stage a coup.

Madden said any similar attempt to wrest power during the North Korean leader's absence was unlikely, pointing to Kim's previous trips to Beijing and Dalian in China, which went off without a hitch.

The officials' replacements are younger than their predecessors, according to Yonhap.

"Japan, Korea and the US continue to agree that pressure is needed to be applied on North Korea", Onodera told reporters after his meeting with Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue.

Yonhap reported that Kim Yong Chol had transited Beijing on Monday on his way back to Pyongyang from the United States.

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