February 19, 2018 12:25
The former chief of North Korea's Army politburo, who was believed to have been purged late last year, has appeared in public again.
North Korea watchers believe Hwang Pyong-so completed an "ideological re-education" course and was reinstated.
Hwang was spotted in footage shown on North Korean state television on Thursday during a ceremony marking the birthday of nation founder Kim Il-sung. Hwang was also standing in line with other senior officials during a visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, which houses Kim's embalmed corpse.
A government official here said Sunday, "Judging by the ranks of the officials next to him, Hwang Pyong-so appears to have been stripped of his military status and reinstated as a Workers Party official."
Hwang spearheaded efforts to make Kim Jong-un the heir to the North Korea's throne and at first gained the young leader's trust, whose second-in-command he was at one time thought to be.
But he became locked into a power struggle with Choe Ryong-hae, who is now the No. 2 man but was at one point sent to a re-education camp.
As soon as Choe was back in power, he avenged himself on his persecutors and purged Hwang instead.
"Kim Jong-un's style of leadership is characterized by having another subordinate sack the No. 2 official if he becomes too powerful," a source here said. "Hwang's reinstatement follows the same pattern."
Ken Gause, a specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, forecast recently that Kim will reinstate Hwang in order to keep Choe in check.
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