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It's been a roller-coaster ride for anyone following plans for a June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.There were no economic experts in the DPRK delegation, but three of the nine members not related to Kim by blood were literally the top brass: Gen. Pak Yong Sik, the People's Armed Forces minister; Gen. Ri Myong Su, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army and Gen. Kim Yong Chol, the former spy chief who reportedly masterminded the torpedoing of a South Korean naval vessel in 2010 .In contrast to the two earlier inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007, which did not include military officials in the formal list of DPRK delegates, the April meeting was starkly different.For me, the most surprising image was the military salute Gen. Ri and Gen. Pak – two of the generals now reported to have lost their jobs – gave President Moon of South Korea.But buy-in at the top should not be equated with the military and nuclear establishment's support from the bottom up. A 2016 report titled "A Study on the Party-Military Relations of the Kim Jong Un Regime," commissioned by the South Korean Unification Ministry, noted that the DPRK military might seek a "military-centric government" or intervene to reshape the country's struggling economy if the Kim leadership failed to provide economic relief (partially from international sanctions).
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