|North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un exchanges smiles with the chief of general staff of the Korean People's Army Ri Yong-ho during a military parade February 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Kyodo/Files)
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.