Kim Jong Un 'fires North Korea's top three military generals'

PM Narendra Modi delivers the keynote address during the IISS Shangri La Dialogue Asia Security Summit in Singapore on Friday

PM Narendra Modi delivers the keynote address during the IISS Shangri La Dialogue Asia Security Summit in Singapore on Friday

Kim Jong-un has axed his top three military officials as he tightens his grip on North Korea's army ahead of a meeting with US President Donald Trump.

The shuffle was confirmed by an anonymous us official, who did not identify the outgoing figures, Reuters reports.

The chief of general staff Ri Myong Su has been replaced by his deputy Ri Yong Gil, according to Yonhap which cited intelligence sources.

"The optics are horrendous given that Kim Jong-un is trying to posture as a good guy", Sue Mi Terry, the Korea chair at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told the New York Times.

Both countries have faced worldwide isolation - North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, and Syria over its tactics during its bloody civil war.

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.

South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa had a 15-minute phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday to discuss the upcoming summit between Kim and Trump, the foreign ministry in Seoul said.

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

"Kim Jong Un has chosen a new leadership who reflects his new approach and can more naturally propagate his new policies to bring stability within the military", the professor said. North Korea's leadership is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival.

Trump met with former North Korean spy chief Kim Yong Chol for about 90 minutes Friday - the highest-level North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.

Pyongyang has long argued that it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against a possible invasion by the US.

But new GPB director Kim Su Gil was a "highly trusted" lieutenant of leader Kim Jong Un, it added, who appointed him to the Pyongyang party committee - once a power base for his uncle Jang Song Thaek - after having the older man executed for treason in 2013.

North Korean delegates to the preparatory talks for a summit with the US leave the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore on Sunday.

That official said USA negotiators' efforts to press for definitions of immediate, comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea had run into opposition from the White House.

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