N.Korean Security Chief Sacked

      March 17, 2011 11:15

      Ju Sang-song (file photo)

      North Korean Minister of People's Security Ju Sang-song has been fired, the official KCNA news agency quoted the powerful National Defense Commission as announcing Wednesday.

      Ju was dismissed "due to illness," KCNA claimed, but gave no details. His dismissal was unusual since many top North Korean officials stay in their posts until they die.

      Ju had led the ministry, one of two public security agencies alongside the State Security Department, since 2004. He became a member of the NDC in 2009 and was appointed a full member of the Politburo only last September.

      A South Korean security official said, "Kim Jong-il had full confidence in Ju, as you can see from Ju's recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart Meng Jianzhu in Pyongyang. It remains to be seen whether he's also been dismissed from the NDC and the Politburo."

      The sacking could be either a sign of a generational shift related to the succession of power to Kim's son and heir Jong-un or the result of an internal power struggle, a North Korean source speculated.

      Another source said Ju may have taken the fall for recent isolated instances of public unrest.

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