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Choe Ryong Hae demoted to Workers’ Party secretary

Posted May. 06, 2014 05:11,   


Choe Ryong Hae, who was recently dismissed from the director of the general politburo that controls the North Korean military, has been named secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers’ Party, said on Saturday, “Choe Ryong Hae, secretary of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, delivered unveiling and inaugural speeches,” as it reported North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s attendance at the inaugural ceremony of the Songdowon International Boys Group Campground in Wonsan, Gangwon Province on Friday. The South Korean government judges Choe has returned to “secretary in charge of the workers’ organization under the party,” a post that he held before assuming the head of the general politburo in April 2012. In Wonsan, Choe was seen wearing suit and tie, in lieu of military uniform for vice marshal that he wore when serving as director of the general politburo.

A source in the South Korean government said of the development, “The appointment could be considered Choe’s demotion meant to hold him accountable for failure to carry out political projects in which the politburo controls the military and promotes Kim Jong Un’s one-man rule.” The source added, “Choe is believed to have been dismissed as member of the Politburo Presidium as well.” The source said the recent replacement of vice director for organization and vice director for propaganda at the general politburo with lieutenant generals Pak Yong Sik and Kim Dong Hwa, respectively, would also be related with Choe’s "demotion."

In contrast, Jeong Seong-jang, senior researcher at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said, “Considering it as demotion constitutes downplaying the stature and importance of party secretary,” adding, “On the contrary, it illustrates Kim Jong Un’s confidence in Choe Ryong Hae whose health deteriorated.” Another source in Seoul said, “It has become clear that Choe has not been politically purged.” In fact, in photos carried in the Rodong Sinmun, Choe was seen clapping while sitting on Kim Jong Un’s right hand side to watch a soccer match, and smiling brightly at the inaugural ceremony.

Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was seen smiling brightly all the time, as she appeared at the ceremony, wearing black formal suit. Given that her name was named after Choe Hui, first vice head of the Workers’ Party’ organizational guidance department and Ma Won Chun, vice head of the party’s finance and accounting department, Kim Yo Jong is believed to externally hold the post of "vice head of the party’s department."