July 16, 2012 / 2:48 AM / in 5 years

Ally of N.Korea leader relieved of party posts-KCNA

North Korean army general Ri Yong-ho addresses an anti-South Korea rally in Pyongyang in this still image taken from video broadcast by North Korean state TV on March 4, 2012. REUTERS/KRT via REUTERS TV/Files

SEOUL (Reuters) - A high-ranking North Korean military official who has been a close ally of the reclusive state’s new leader has been relieved of his political posts due to illness, the country’s official news media said on Monday.

Ri Yong-ho was relieved of all his posts in the ruling Workers’ Party Korea at a politburo meeting on Sunday, including a powerful position as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

It was not clear from the report whether Ri, a career military man who held the rank of vice-marshal, was relieved of his posts in the Army. Ri is 70 years old, according to South Korean government database.

Ri has been a prominent member of new leader Kim Jong-un’s circle of close political allies. Kim took power after his father Kim Jong-il died last December. (Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by John Mair)

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