Kim Jong Un Appoints More Generals In Military Shakeup While Extending Hand To Trump

Amidst the ongoing nuclear negotiation standoff with the United States, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has initiated a large-scale military shakeup, bolstering his general officers corps with a wave of promotions

The move is said to mark the upcoming birthday of his grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, according to state media, but more significantly Kim used the occasion to extend another hand to Washington, signaling he's not given up after the disappointing failed February talks with Trump in Hanoi, which rapidly broke down. 

File photo via KCNA/Reuters

Kim said on Saturday during a speech on state television he would be willing to hold a third summit with Trump, and said Washington has until the end of the year to make a nuclear deal happen. 

Crucially, Trump responded quickly and in the affirmative, tweeting Saturday that a third summit "would be good" and noted warmly "we fully understand where we each stand" in terms of the two leaders' personal relationship. 

"I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate, and that a third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand,” Trump posted to Twitter.

“North Korea has tremendous potential for....... ...extraordinary growth, economic success and riches under the leadership of Chairman Kim," Trump continued. "I look forward to the day, which could be soon, when Nuclear Weapons and Sanctions can be removed, and then watching North Korea become one of the most successful nations of the World!"

The significant public breakthrough in direct public dialogue following Hanoi was coupled Kim ordering three people to be promoted to full general with 33 others raised to the rank major general on Sunday.

Bloomberg described the occasion as follows

The promotions come shortly after Kim reaffirmed his faith in top aides involved in nuclear talks with the U.S. In a Supreme People’s Assembly meeting earlier this month, North Korea reappointed Kim Yong Chol as a member of the State Affairs Commission led by Kim Jong Un himself. The country has also promoted Choe Son Hui to first vice foreign minister.

Importantly it was Kim Yong Chol that met with Trump at the White House earlier this year, who also had a key role in paving the way for talks with the US in Vietnam. 

This second summit ended badly when Trump walked out of the meeting after it was clear not deal would be reached. “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times,” President Trump had said at the time of his cutting short the Vietnam summit. 

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