Kim Jong-un 'Favors Officials from His Home Province'

In signs that regionalism thrives on both sides of the border, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is promoting officials from Kangwon Province, where he was born, to key positions.

A source on Tuesday said Pak Jong-nam, the party secretary of the Kangwon chapter, has been promoted to vice director of the Politburo. His job is to assist the current senior-most apparatchik Choe Ryong-hae and also to keep an eye on him on Kim's behalf.

In this photo published by the official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other officials visit a nursery in Pyongyang without taking their shoes off. In this photo published by the official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other officials visit a nursery in Pyongyang without taking their shoes off.

"Pak is like a spy that Kim planted in the Politburo," the source said. "His promotion was possible thanks to the relationship he has built with Kim over several years as they share the same hometown."

The promotion of Jang Jong-nam to minister of the People’s Armed Forces also owes something to the fact that he is from Kangwon Province, the source added.

North Korea experts believe Kim was born in a summer house near Wonsan, Kangwon Province, and spent his youth there.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 05, 2014 12:15 KST

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