In more evidence that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is tightening his grip on the military, the nation's defense chief has been replaced.
Top senior officials in Seoul confirmed on Thursday that Kim Kyok-sik was named defense chief early this year.
He replaces Vice Marshal Kim Jong-gak, who was sacked after just seven months in office.
The incoming defense chief, Kim Kyok-sik , is widely believed to have orchestrated the sinking of South Korea's warship Cheonan and the artillery attack on South Korea's border island of Yeonpyeong in 2010.
Experts say the replacement indicates that the North is in the final stages of consolidating military power with the party-centered Kim Jong-un regime.