August 14, 2019 13:20
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promoted 103 military scientists for contributing to weapons development including a new multi-rocket launcher and short-range ballistic missile.
Among them is Jon Il-ho, one of the North's four leading "missile men," who was promoted to lieutenant general.
Kim promoted each one rank higher to recognize their "great contributions to bolstering up the military capabilities for self-defense," the official Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday.
Kim was quoted as saying they provided an "epoch-making turning point" in increasing the country's self-defense capabilities and "settling highly difficult technological problems of the ultra-modern national defense science."
Jon is a member of the Academy of National Defense Science and has accompanied Kim to most weapons test since the regime tested the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017. He is one of four leading missile scientists alongside Ri Pyong-chol, the first deputy director of the Munitions Industry Department, Kim Jong-sik, Ri's deputy, and Jang Chang-ha, the director of the academy.
State media carried an image of Jon smoking together with Kim Jong-un when they watched the test of the Hwasong-15 missile in 2017.
He seems to have escaped Kim Jong-un's frequent purges since "missile scientists are immune to frequent changes in the military," a source said.
It is unusual for the regime to promote so many people in one field at the same time, which suggests it wanted to show off its success in developing new weapons and express its determination to continue missile development.
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