North Korea’s supreme leader has surprisingly fired members of his ruling party’s military commission in a brazen response to heightened tensions between the North and South Koreas. Kim Jong Un’s dismissal of party officials has shown the leader’s increasing intolerance for inefficiency that leads to propaganda against his regime. Through firing the officials, Kim will be looking to entrench his rule and avert a similar military standoff between the two neighbors.
The dismissals took place during a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s (WPK) Central Military Commission. Reports of the dismissal were announced by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) though no details were given on where the meeting was held and when.
Through an English dispatch monitored in Seoul, the KCNA said the meeting “dismissed some members of the WPK Central Military Commission and appointed new ones and dealt with an organizational matter.”
The agency did not give reasons for the dismissal though analysts have speculated it could have something to do with the recent standoff between the North and South Korea. On Aug. 4th, a land mine exploded in the Demilitarized zone, maiming two South Korean soldiers.
Furious over the explosions, the South blamed the North for the explosions saying they planted them. However, North Korea insistently refuted the claims, categorically stating they did not place the mines in the zone.
The ensuing tirade of accusations prompted the South to resume anti-Kim Jong Un loudspeaker broadcasts at the border, a move they had not done in 11 years.
Infuriated by the anti-Pyongyang messages, on Aug. 20th, Kim fired artillery shells across the border, sparking a very rare exchange of fire power between the two states. On that very day, Kim ordered his military to position themselves for war as he took charge of the ruling party’s military commission.
According to the KCNA, “Kim Jong-un analyzed and reviewed the preparations for military operations made by the frontline units which had been in the state of war, and the work done in various fields in the areas where the semi-war state had been declared and how the north-south high-level urgent contact was made and appreciated them.”
Kim credited his country with the defending of peace in the Korean peninsula and proposed talks with their neighbor. The North offered a half hearted, very vague apology summarized in their expression of “regret” over the incident while still refusing they had anything to do with the land mines’ planting. The South stopped the propaganda broadcasts.
Kim later credited the peace to “tremendous military muscle with the nuclear deterrent for self-defense.” He later emphasized that it underscored “once again the need to channel top priority efforts into bolstering up the military capability for national defense.”
Kim Jong Un has earned a reputation for being a dictatorial leader with authoritarian tendencies. He has shown little tolerance for the criticism of his regime through cyber attacks on U.S.’s Sony Pictures, open threats of nuclear action against foreign states and most recently the standoff with the South. It is only a matter of time before the citizens of the North grow tired of his meaningless antics.