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Close aide to NK leader appointed as party committee chief in typhoon-hit province

North Korea's state media on Thursday confirmed that a close aide to leader Kim Jong-un has been appointed as new chairman of a party provincial committee after its previous head was dismissed last month over a failure in handling typhoon preparations.

While reporting on a local army-civilian rally, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party, referred to Ri Jong-nam, a vice director of the Organization and Guidance Department, as the "chairman of the party committee in South Hamkyong Province."

North Korean media said last month that leader Kim dismissed the previous chief of the provincial party committee, holding him responsible for a failure in coping with Typhoon Masak.

They reported that a vice director of the Organization and Guidance Department was appointed as new chairman but did not mention who the replacement was.

Ri is known as a close aide to Kim and has been frequently seen accompanying the leader's "field guidance" trips since last year.

His appointment appears intended to accelerate efforts to carry out leader Kim's call for making a fast recovery from the damage in typhoon-hit areas.

North Korea was buffeted by back-to-back typhoons in recent months. Its eastern region was among the hardest-hit, and leader Kim ordered elite party members in Pyongyang sent there to help with its recovery.

State media said early Thursday that Kim inspected several typhoon-hit areas in the province this week and urged officials to redouble recovery efforts. (Yonhap)