Head of Yeonpyeong attack replaced

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Head of Yeonpyeong attack replaced


Kim Kyok-sik

The head of a North Korean army unit responsible for shelling South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 has been replaced by the country’s vice defense minister, the North’s state media confirmed yesterday.

General Kim Kyok-sik, who, starting in February 2009 headed the 4th Army Corps of the Korean People’s Army, is believed to have led the deadly attack on Yeonpyeong that killed four South Koreans, including two civilians.

The front-line unit near the inter-Korean sea border in the Yellow Sea is now headed by Pyon In-son, vice minister of the People’s Armed Forces, according to North Korean media reports of his appearance on state television Monday.

Kim has often been spotted at events unrelated to the unit since late last year, spurring speculation that he may have been replaced.

During the broadcast by the North’s Korean Central Broadcasting Station, Pyon was introduced as commander of the 4th Army Corps, in effect confirming the replacement. Pyon served as vice defense minister starting in December 2010, and was included in the North’s 232-member commission for the funeral of former leader Kim Jong-il last December.

“The hearts of my corps’ soldiers are boiling with hatred for the Lee Myung-bak group of traitors and are determination to get revenge,” Pyon was quoted as saying on air. “Be it Cheong Wa Dae or Incheon, we will immerse them all in a sea of fire and not let a single member of the group of traitors survive.”

North Korea has frequently denounced South Korea’s conservative President Lee Myung-bak as a “traitor,” accusing him of aggravating inter-Korean ties. Yonhap

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