North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-Un issued his first military order just before his father’s death was announced, suggesting the son already controls the armed forces, a report said Wednesday.
Jong-Un ordered all units to halt field exercises and training and return to their bases, Yonhap news agency quoted a senior Seoul government source as saying. “This is clear-cut evidence that Kim Jong-Un has secured a firm grip on the military,” the official was quoted as saying.
Comments by the head of the South’s National Intelligence Service appeared to back up the Yonhap source. Won Sei-Hoon told parliament Tuesday that a North Korean unit test-fired two short-range missiles off its east coast before noon Monday. But they cancelled their plan to launch more missiles in the afternoon and returned to base, Won said.
Jong-Un was made vice chairman of the ruling party’s Central Military Commission and a four-star general in September last year as his father groomed him for the succession. The country’s regular armed forces total 1.19 million and the regime has a Songun (military-first) policy prioritising its needs over those of civilians.
Other officials quoted by Yonhap said there was no unusual activity in border areas of the North, but more troops had been posted in the Joint Security Area around the border village of Panmunjom.
An intelligence official said the North may be trying to prevent defection attempts during the leadership transition.