Just one week after Russian Defense Minister Shoigu paid a State visit to North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un sacked his top general and ordered increases in weapons production and combat drills in preparation for an "offensive" war, state-run media reported Thursday.
Kim fired Gen. Pak Su Il, chief of the General Staff, during a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party central military commission held Wednesday, Korean Central News Agency reported.
He replaced Pak with Vice Marshal Ri Yong Gil, who currently serves as the North's defense minister.
The meeting also dealt with "dismissing, transferring to other posts or newly appointing some leading commanding officers," KCNA said. No reasons were given for the military reshuffle.
Kim analyzed the "hostile" situation on the Korean Peninsula and called for "further stepping up the war preparations of the [Korean People's Army] in an offensive way," the report said.
The meeting comes ahead of a major U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise, Ulchi Freedom Shield, scheduled for later this month. Pyongyang has repeatedly condemned the allies' joint drills as preparation for an invasion, while framing its own nuclear program as an exercise in deterrence and self-defense.