North Korea replaces three top military leaders, Yonhap news agency reports

Posted June 04, 2018

The meeting's apparent objective was last-stage negotiations over the agenda for the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, slated to take place in Singapore next Tuesday.

In the run-up to North Korea's first summit with the United States, Pyongyang has replaced its top three defense officials, according to South Korea news agency Yonhap and other media reports.

Citing an intelligence source, Yonhap named the outgoing officials as defense minister Pak Yong Sik, Ri Myong Su, the Korean People's Army's (KPA) chief of the general staff, and Kim Jong Gak, director of the KPA's General Political Bureau and former defense minister.

It quoted Mr Assad as saying on Wednesday: "I am going to visit [North Korea] and meet Kim Jong-un".

There has been no confirmation of the venue for the summit to discuss ending the North's nuclear weapons program in return for diplomatic and economic incentives, although several Singapore hotels have figured as candidates.

The report did not mention when the meeting will be held.

It will be a "bumpy road" to the nuclear negotiations with North Korea later this month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Sunday, telling his South Korean and Japanese counterparts they must maintain a strong defensive stance so the diplomats can negotiate from a position of strength.

Cavaliers avoid suspensions that would have killed their chances
While Green initiated the trash-talking between the two, Thompson took it too far by giving Green a face full of basketball. Smith and a disputed foul call involving James himself sure helped. "So he's definitely going to start again".

The exact scope of the discussions planned for the Kim-Trump Singapore summit remains unclear.

The Trump administration when initially canceling the summit had cited Pyongyang's refusal to agree to the "unilateral" surrender of its nuclear arsenal.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says worldwide sanctions on North Korea will only be lifted when Pyongyang takes concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program.

Given the military's secondary role in the North's nuclear and missile programmes, the moves are likely more about installing a younger, even more trusted cohort of officials who Kim Jong Un can rely on as he confronts a variety of domestic and global issues, said Michael Madden, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University´s 38 North website. It's also not clear how long the talks will last.

"The world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political calibre and wise leadership of HE Kim Jong-un", Assad said, according to KCNA.

Madden said any similar attempt to wrest power during the North Korean leader's absence was unlikely, pointing to Kim's previous trips to Beijing and Dalian in China, which went off without a hitch.