N. Korea confirms new coal minister following purge

 N. Korea confirms new coal minister following purge
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during his New Year address.

SEOUL - North Korea has replaced its coal minister, apparently after the shock execution of leader Kim Jong-Un’s uncle, who had been accused of attempting to take control of the country’s lucrative coal export business.

Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency introduced Mun Myong-Hak as “Minister of Coal Industry” as it was reporting on the 30th anniversary of the Pukchang Area Coal-Mining Complex in the western province of South Phyongan on Monday.

The last time the North’s coal minister was mentioned in the country’s state media was a year ago, when Rim Nam-Su was in office.

The shock purge and execution of Jang Song-Thaek, the once-powerful uncle and political regent to young leader Kim Jong-Un, was sparked by his attempts to take over the North’s coal export industry, South Korea’s spy chief Nam Jae-Joon said last month.

The moves by Jang contributed to the North’s economic troubles, Kim Jong-Ha, chief secretary of the secretariat of the cabinet said last month in an interview with the Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan.

The Choson Sinbo report also indirectly confirmed Kim Jong-Ha had replaced Kim Yong-Ho following Jang’s downfall.

It is not known what became of Kim Yong-Ho or Rim Nam-Su.

Last week, Pyongyang’s Chosun Chungang TV introduced Kim Yong-Kwang as the new Minister of Metal Industry.

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