North Korea has replaced its armed forces minister with a younger general.

The official Korean Central News Agency introduced Jang Jong-Nam as “Minister of the People’s Armed Forces” to replace hawkish Kim Kyok-Sik, whose appointment in November was seen as a  hardline step by Pyongyang amid tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Kim has substantially reshuffled his military top brass in an apparent attempt to secure his leadership since taking over the reins of power in December from this late father Kim Jong Il, reports AFP.

Officials in Seoul said they knew little of the political stance of the new minister, who is, in his mid-50s, relatively young and unknown.

“We do not know if Jang is a less hawkish figure, but it appears that he is from a younger generation,” South Korea defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said.

“Just because there is a new dot that does not mean that a whole line or landscape changes. We need more time to figure out the overall direction,” Kim added.