The powerful military chief Ri Yong Ho was dismissed last year, and some officials viewed as more moderate, including Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, were elevated.
Kim Jong Un should ‘‘now work with those moderates he recently appointed to insure that North Korea immediately returns to negotiations and unilaterally announces a moratorium on all missile launches and nuclear tests,’’ Joseph DeTrani, a former North Korea specialist for the U.S. government, wrote recently.
South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye has said she will make efforts in her five-year term to boost aid and engage North Korea.
‘‘If Kim Jong Un is going to engineer a shift from ‘military-first’ to ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ he is going to need Seoul’s encouragement, and he doesn’t have five years to wait,’’ John Delury, an analyst at Seoul’s Yonsei University, wrote recently. He said it’s up to South Korea ‘‘to unclench its fist first, so that the leader of the weaker state can outstretch his hand.’’
Associated Press writer Kim Kwang Hyon contributed to this story from Pyongyang, North Korea.