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NK leader appears to have reshuffled top officials at recent politburo meeting: official

The Workers' Party's politburo meeting takes place in Pyongyang on Tuesday, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, in this photo provided by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The Workers' Party's politburo meeting takes place in Pyongyang on Tuesday, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, in this photo provided by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "By neglecting important decisions of the party in its national emergency antivirus fight in preparations for a global health crisis, officials in charge have caused a grave incident that poses a huge crisis to the safety of the nation and its people," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA. (KCNA)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have carried out a reshuffle of top officials at a recent politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

State media earlier reported that Kim discussed "an organizational issue," including the election of new politburo members and a secretary of the party's Central Committee, at the extended politburo meeting of the party on Tuesday. It did not provide details on those newly elected.

"There is a possibility of personnel changes involving Ri Pyong-chol, Pak Jong-chon and Choe Sang-gon, as Ri and Pak were not seen participating in the voting process and Choe's seat was left empty," the official said.

The ministry said it could not officially confirm the organizational reshuffle.

Video footage aired Wednesday on Korean Central Television showed officials at the politburo meeting voting on personnel issues, with the exception of Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, and Pak Jong-chon, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army

Ri and Pak did not raise their hands up to vote, raising the possibility that the top two military officers have been dismissed and were deprived of the right to vote.

Choe Sang-gon, director of the central committee's science and education department, was also absent from his seat during the voting.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it has nothing to say regarding the North's personnel issue, adding that no unusual military activities were detected.

"The North Korean military usually begins its summertime exercises around July, but for now, we need more assessment," JCS spokesman Col. Kim Jun-rak said during a regular press briefing. (Yonhap)
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