Recent information revealed by the North Korean media appears to suggest that the commander of the DPRK Navy has been replaced, raising speculation about links to the removal of former KPA Chief of Staff Lee Young Ho.
Commander Jung Myung Do’s apparent removal from the post was implied when he did not appear in the seat ordinarily reserved for the DPRK Navy commander at a Central Party meeting to commemorate the 59th anniversary of what North Korea considers to be the day of its victory in the Korean War, which fell at the end of last month.
Footage of the event was broadcast by Chosun Central TV on the 27th, and in it the person next to the commander of the DPRK Air Force, Ri Byong Chul, was Vice Admiral Park Won Shik, someone who was previously thought to be the commander of the country’s East Sea Fleet.
In December of 2007, Jung was made Admiral Jung and appointed to the command post. He was then made Fleet Admiral Jung in April, 2010, while Park Won Shik, who appears to be the new Navy commander, was promoted to vice admiral in April 2004 and, notably, was awarded the Kim Jong Il Medal on February 9th this year.
Observers speculate that the recent replacement might be related to the purge of former KPA Chief of Staff Lee Young Ho. The two men were promoted together via the 3rd Chosun Workers’ Party Delegates’ Conference in September 2010; Jung was made a member of the Party Central Military Commission and Party Central Committee while Lee was elevated to a number of senior posts.