Top N.Korean Apparatchik Consolidates Power

  • By Lee Yong-soo

    January 12, 2018 12:35

    Choe Ryong-hae (left) and Jong Kyong-thaek

    North Korea's most powerful apparatchik Choe Ryong-hae has been appointed director of the organization and guidance department of the Workers Party in a reshuffle that routed his enemies.

    The department appoints and keeps tabs on senior party, military and intelligence officials.

    A former high-ranking North Korean official who defected to South Korea said Choe's appointment shows that he has won back the wholehearted confidence of leader Kim Jong-un. "He is now the undisputed No. 2," the defector added.

    The Unification Ministry here said Kim Won-hong was replaced as head of North Korea's intelligence department by Jong Kyong-thaek. Jong first came to the attention of the outside world when he became a member of the politburo last year.

    The head of Room 39, which manages Kim Jong-un's secret coffers, changed from Jon Il-chun to Shin Ryong-man.

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