SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Korea Bizwire) - The commander of the North Korean military’s strategic missile defense branch has been promoted to a four-star general, possibly thanks to recent progress in the country’s missile development, a North Korean documentary showed.
Kim Rak-gyom, previously the three-star commander of the Strategic Forces under the Korean People’s Army, was seen wearing a four-star shoulder board during the recent military educators’ meeting held from Nov. 3-4, a documentary by Korean Central TV on Thursday showed.
It is a fast climb up the military ladder, given he took the previous lieutenant general post in February last year.
Formerly called the Strategic Rocket Forces, his branch was expanded and renamed the Strategic Forces in late 2013.
The branch is primarily in charge of commanding and controlling short-, medium- and long-range missile units.
Kim appears to have been credited with recent missile development in North Korea as the country’s leader Kim Jong-un freshly increased efforts on missile development since taking power in late 2011.
Analysts said the promotion may also intend to keep balance among the missile branch and the three other branches: the army, navy and air force.
Navy chief Ri Yong-ju and air force chief Choe Yong-ho were also promoted to four-star generals in August and July respectively, putting the commanders of the all four branches at the general’s seat.’