December 01, 2015 09:29
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un probably watched the test-launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine that went awry last Saturday, the National Intelligence Service here speculated Monday.
An NIS officer told members of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, "It's highly likely that Kim was at the scene, given a North Korean broadcasting report that he visited Wonsan last Friday."
The test was conducted in waters in the East Sea near Wonsan.
During a similar test in May, a missile soared about 150 m into the sky before dropping into the sea.
Meanwhile, the officer said Jo Yong-won, a Workers Party official, has risen up in the hierarchy recently.
Jo (58) accompanied Kim Jong-un on his "on-the-spot guidance trips" 37 times this year – second only to Army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so, who accompanied Kim 74 times.
But Jo only appeared in the North Korean media for the first time in December last year.
"In North Korea, things like how often anyone accompanies Kim mean a great deal, regardless of their official rank," a government official here said. "Little is known about Jo, but Kim is apparently dissatisfied with older brass and seems to have handpicked the relatively young Jo and promoted him."
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