North Korea appoints armed forces minister

November 30, 2012 - 5:02:05 am


SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has named a hardline general who is believed to have masterminded an attack on South Korea to the post of Armed Forces Minister as part of a broad reshuffle of the military, South Korean officials said yesterday.

Kim Kyok-sik’s appointment as the Minister of People’s Armed Forces marks a return to the top ranks of one of the world’s biggest armies by a man who had previously been pushed aside by a rival who has since been purged.

“The reshuffle is part of loyalty test by First Chairman Kim Jong-un,” a South Korean government official said.

A second South Korean official confirmed that Seoul believed a new minister had been appointed. There was no official announcement by Pyongyang and it was impossible to verify the reports.

Kim commanded the North’s 4th Army Corps that was responsible for the bombing of a South Korean island in 2010. The attack killed four people in what was the first on a civilian area in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. North and South Korea remain technically at war as an armistice rather than a peace treaty ended the conflict.

Kim’s military career also included working as a liaison officer with Syria, one of a few allies of the diplomatically isolated North, according to North Korea Leadership Watch.

4 bus drivers charged over Singapore strike


SINGAPORE: Four mainland Chinese bus drivers were charged in Singapore yesterday with inciting a strike by dozens of drivers that highlighted tension about an influx of immigrants and the treatment of foreign workers in the wealthy financial centre.

The walkout this week by the drivers from China, over pay disparities and conditions at their dormitory, was the first major strike in tightly regulated Singapore in more than 25 years. It was mostly over by Wednesday. 

Singapore, an ethnic Chinese-majority island with no minimum wage, prohibits workers in public transport and other essential services from taking industrial action without giving notice 14 days in advance.