North Korea Shifts Top Officials

D-Bo , Oct. 30, 2014, 9:46 a.m.


Choe Ryong-hae, a secretary of the Workers Party, seems to have clawed back his position as North Korea's most powerful man after leader Kim Jong-un.  The status-conscious [North] Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday listed Choe before Hwang Pyong-so, who was for a time believed to be the new No. 2 in the hierarchy. 



The momentous event was a soccer match both officials attended. The last time North Korean media named Choe ahead of Hwang was just before he was sacked as army chief in April.  Chung Sung-jang at the Sejong Institute said, "It looks like Choe has been appointed party secretary for organization," a post previously held by Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui, who retired from the political stage after her husband was executed. 

Chung added, "Kim Jong-un may have wanted to appoint his sister Yeo-jong to the post, but she's still too young."  That opened a second or third chance for Choe, who enjoys some ineradicable clout as the son of a famous partisan fighter.  The post is in charge of senior appointments, so it is a key job in the hierarchy. Former leader Kim Jong-il held the job himself at one stage while his father was alive.

Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byung-chul here said, "We’ll have to monitor things further to get a clearer picture of Choe's actual status."

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