Conflict & Justice

"Urgent" North Korea announcement not so important - Korean won affected


A man watches a TV showing a close-up of Kim Jong Un, in Seoul, South Korea, September 30, 2010.


Jung Yeon-Je

North Korea kept the world waiting with bated breath Wednesday afternoon for an "urgent announcement" - which turned out to be less than important.

The insular dictatorship's party mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency, posted an imposingly worded announcement early July 18th: "Important News to be Reported: Urgent."

The KCNA said that the announcement would be made at noon, local time. 

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As this designation was last used by the KCNA when former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died, South Korean markets responded with panic, reports Bloomberg. 

The KCNA than released the "urgent" information: new North Korean prime minister Kim Jong Un had been named a Marshal, rendering him the supreme commander of the North Korean army.

The title was previously held by his father, Kim Jong-Il, who was in February given a posthumous promotion to Generalissimo.

More from GlobalPost: Analysis of a military shakeup 

According to the Yonhap News Agency, the DPRK army is 1.2 million strong. 

According to the KCNA, the "decision was jointly issued on Tuesday by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK."

“North Korea’s announcement report heightened uncertainty in the market and triggered some investors to cover their short positions on the dollar,” Yun Se Min, a Busan Bank currency trader, told Bloomberg Tuesday. 

Was the "urgent" announcement linked to international media attention over North Korea's recent firing of long-time military chief and Kim Jong Il follower, Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, and the hiring of Hyon Yong Chol, as reported in the GlobalPost yesterday? 

Analysts will doubtless argue the point this week - and if this move actually has any deeper meaning than may initally be apparant.