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North Korea replaces hard-line defense chief

Monday - 5/13/2013, 1:40am  ET

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea has replaced its hard-line defense chief with a little-known army general.

The significance of Jang Jong Nam's appointment wasn't immediately clear. The announcement comes amid tentative signs of an interest in diplomacy after weeks of rising animosity and dueling threats on the Korean Peninsula.

Little is known about Jang. Mention of his new role was buried Monday in a state media dispatch listing those who attended an art performance with leader Kim Jong Un.

It's not known when Jang replaced Kim Kyok Sik. Kim is the former commander of battalions believed responsible for deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010. State media previously identified Jang as head of the army's First Corps who pledged allegiance to Kim Jong Un and threatened South Korea in a speech last December.


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