N.Korea Appoints New Head of Missile Force

Kim Rak-gyom (in red circle), the new head of North Koreas Strategic Rocket Force, walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right). /Yonhap Kim Rak-gyom (in red circle), the new head of North Korea's Strategic Rocket Force, walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right). /Yonhap

North Korea appointed Lt. Gen. Kim Rak-gyom as head of its Strategic Rocket Force ahead of a Workers Party meeting in April, it was revealed Thursday. The Strategic Rocket Force oversees all of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile facilities.

"According to a source, North Korea revamped its Strategic Rocket Force and appointed Kim Rak-gyom as its head, replacing Choi Sang-ryo," said Chung Sung-jang of the Sejong Institute.

Kim was the only lieutenant general to be elected to the party's Central Military Commission in April, a move which appears to reflect the importance of the command within the armed forces. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a speech on April 15 addressed the "bold soldiers of the People's Army, Navy, Air Force and Strategic Rocket Force."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 15, 2012 11:03 KST