Kim Kyok-sik, the man responsible for the shelling of Yeonpyong Island in 2010, appeared at a ceremony marking Kim Jong-il's birthday on Thursday, giving the lie to rumors that he was sacked. He is now apparently chief of the army’s general staff.
Kim Kyok-sik stepped down from his leadership of the West Sea naval forces in last year, triggering rumors that he was fired and was not included among 232 officials entrusted with planning the late North Korean leader's funeral in December.
But Kim Kyok-sik appeared on state TV along with other top military brass at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where Kim Jong-il's body has been laid to rest, and saluted the late leader.
The development follows the promotion to full general of Kim Yong-chol, the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau which oversees all espionage operations against South Korea. He was fingered by South Korean authorities as being behind the deadly torpedo attack against the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan.