Pyongyang selects new police chief

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Pyongyang selects new police chief

The top police officer in North Korea has been replaced by a three-star general who was in charge of choreographing the military parade for late leader Kim Il Sung’s birthday last year.

Choe Pu-il, former vice chief of the general staff of the North Korean army, has been appointed to the minister of people’s security, a position similar to a national police commissioner in the South, a high-ranking South Korean official told reporters yesterday at a private meeting.

The Security Ministry of North Korea has reportedly emerged as an important post under the Kim Jong-un leadership, in charge of public safety, cracking down on any anti-regime activities, along with the Ministry of State Security, the chief spy agency of North Korea.

Still, the official said it was not confirmed why the regime replaced the predecessor, Ri Myong-su, who hasn’t appeared in public since September 2012.

The newly-minted Choe was in charge of directing the grand military parade commemorating the centennial of founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday in April 2012 and is considered an inner-circle member of the North Korean military.

Ri, the predecessor, was named to the post in April 2011.

In November 2012, a Unification Ministry official told reporters that the regime appeared to demote Ri, from four stars to three stars, because of the North Korean soldier who crossed the heavily fortified inter-Korean border on foot to defect into the South in October 2012.


By Lee Young-jong, Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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