N. Korea promotes leader's confidant

By 조정은
  • Published : Mar 22, 2014 - 15:04
  • Updated : Mar 22, 2014 - 15:04
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's confidant has been promoted to a first vice director of the country's powerful Organization and Guidance Department, according to Pyongyang's state media.

The Korean Central News Agency did not directly report the promotion of Hwang Pyong-so, but referred to him by his new title on Saturday as it reported an inspection by Kim of hospitals in Pyongyang.

Earlier this month, the KCNA identified Hwang as a vice director of the Organization and Guidance Department, one of the most powerful bodies in the communist country.

The department exerts influence on personnel appointments of key officials and controls the political affairs of all officials, party members and ordinary citizens.

Hwang, 65, has emerged as a confidant to Kim since 2010 when Kim was officially designated as the successor to his father, longtime leader Kim Jong-il.

The junior Kim took over North Korea in 2011 following the sudden death of Kim Jong-il, who also inherited power from his father Kim Il-sung, the North's founder.

Hwang's rise has been illustrated by his increasing presence at the side of the young leader on his inspection trips.

Kim's inspection trips, which are accompanied by top officials, offer rare glimpses into the rise and fall of his aides.

Last year, Hwang accompanied the leader on 59 occasions, a distant second to Choe Ryong-hae, the North Korean military's top political officer, with 141.

Hwang accompanied Kim on 22 occasions this year, followed by Choe with 15, according to the Korea Institute for National Unification, a state-run think tank in Seoul.