North Korea

N.Korea's Key 'Rocket Men' Absent from Major Events

By Kim Myong-song | October 11, 2017 10:28

Two key officials in charge of North Korea's missile development were absent at recent major events, a mass rally in Pyongyang on Saturday and the Workers Party anniversary on Tuesday.

Neither Ri Man-gon, who oversees the party's department in charge of nuclear weapons and missile development, nor Kim Rak-gyom, the head of the Strategic Rocket Forces who is in charge of ballistic missile launches, showed up.

Ri Man-gon (left) and Kim Rak-gyom

That has given rise to speculation that they are busy somewhere else preparing for a fresh missile launch.

"Ri and Kim were not seen in the footage and images released by North Korean state media of a full session of the party's committee last Saturday," a government source here said Tuesday.

"There's little chance that Ri and Kim have been dismissed or purged because they've been praised for major achievements recently," a staffer of a government-funded think tank here said. "It's highly likely that they were absent because they'd been given an important assignment."
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