But, if confirmed, the moves raise two contrasting scenarios: part of an ongoing reorganization in military leadership by Kim, or possibly a far-reaching intervention to bring in younger military overseers to replace older ranks possibly at odds with his outreach to the United States and its ally South Korea.
They added that the GPB could be influential enough to resist leadership policy decisions and try to profit from future South Korean economic aid.
Political commissars under the bureau are stationed throughout the KPA and can influence the army's activity at all levels. "That was a problem during the sunshine period, a lot of misappropriation and malfeasance".
In the press release, the mission also accused the UN agencies of "inaction with silence" and urged the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to abandon "its prejudiced and partial attitude" and to "discharge its due mandate and responsibility by taking appropriate action" for the early return of the North Korean defectors. And in the "Frunze Academy Affair", elite young officers who had been studying at Moscow's Frunze Academy, and were recalled home after the death of first-generation dictator Kim Il-sung, are believed to have plotted a regime overthrow.
Among the demands Democrats made in the letter are that any agreement continue North Korea's "current ballistic missile tests suspension, including any space launch", the full "dismantlement of ballistic missiles and a prohibition on all ballistic missile development", and a guarantee "that no ballistic missiles and associated technology are proliferated or exported".
Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms
The new intervention force has been touted as an opportunity to involve Britain in European defence cooperation after Brexit. Euronews breaks down the key takeaways from her interview.
But even the suggestion of Assad's outreach to North Korea is certain to ripple through White House efforts to define an agenda for the planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim.
'They are shaping these guys up because there is going to be a lot of foreign interaction, ' Madden said. "We can go slowly'".
Top Senate Democrats on Monday told President Donald Trump not to make a deal that leaves North Korea with nuclear weapons, and threatened to maintain or toughen sanctions on Pyongyang if that condition is not met. But it was not immediately clear whether any of them would accompany Kim to Singapore.
There has also been speculation Kim does not wish to leave North Korea for an extended period of time as this may encourage any remaining opponents to his rule to seize the opportunity to stage a coup.
US officials are thus reportedly mulling whether to ask host nation Singapore to bear some of the costs ― a suggestion that the small but wealthy city-state apparently would be happy to comply with.