Is Kim Jong-un Playing Musical Chairs at the Top?

      March 02, 2015 10:21

      Hwang Pyong-so (left) and Choe Ryong-hae

      North Korean military politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so seems to have replaced Workers Party secretary Choe Ryong-hae as the regime's No. 2 man, experts believe.

      The status-conscious North Korean state press cited Hwang ahead of Choe when it reported on leader Kim Jong-un's visit to the Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang on Saturday.

      Since an outing in October last year, Choe had always been cited before Hwang.

      Hwang has accompanied Kim more frequently than Choe since the execution of former eminence grise Jang Song-taek in December 2013, and in May last year, Hwang was already once cited before Choe.

      But there is also a theory that Kim will not allow any one man to become as powerful as his executed uncle and is playing musical chairs with those he favors.

      This would allow him to play off the loyalties of party and military against each other. Hwang is a top military commissar and Choe a senior party apparatchik.

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