PYONGYANG – North Korean politicians inserted into Kim Jong-Un’s inner circle have been named after a cabinet reshuffle which could spark major changes in the country.
Kim Jong-Un’s regime has changed its cabinet around the secretive state has repeatedly threatened to send missiles soaring into the United States and has fired over Japan, prompting global outrage.
Jong-Un has refused to back down to US president Donald Trump and has instead accelerated the nation’s nuclear programme.
The world’s militaries are watching Pyongyang over fears Jong-Un could act on threats to shower the west with warheads.
Now, experts are attempting to make sense of a major cabinet reshuffle in Kim’s Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK)
Economic officials were moved to influential positions in the party hierarchy, just months after China hit Pyongyang with financial sanctions.
The Foreign minister was elevated to an influential party role within the WPK, showing Jong-Un wants one of his top henchmen to be dealing with the rest of the world.
Jong-Un’s little sister, aged 28, become a top 20 official after Kim accelerated her from alternate member status to become a full cabinet member.
Formerly the Deputy Director of the WPK Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD) Kim Yo Jong will now be successor to her aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, a full member of the political bureau.
Her ascension is being questioned by many who have knowledge of the WPK Propaganda and Agitation Department, which is filled normally by former army officials.
It is now believed her role could be to attract a new fresh wave of support for the Government with younger generations.
In January, the US Treasury blacklisted Kim Yo Jong along with other North Korean officials over “severe human rights abuses”.
The move to make her a top official strengthens the family’s iron grip on the hermit nation.
Choe Ryong Hae
Choe Ryong Hae has returned to the top of the Kim cabinet after he went missing for three years, reportedly sent to a re-education farm as a punishment.
The politician played an important role as the number two for the nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, between 2012 and 2014.
But fears for his safety grew when he was punished for “sloppy” work over the refurbishment of a nuclear power plant.
At the meeting he was accelerated up the formal party structure, to return to the position as well as being given a Central Military Commission and made a committee director.
But his re-appointment is raising suspicions over Kim’s next move.
Choe, famously good at mobilising media coverage, is replacing a leading military official.
The unusual move for the party could suggest Kim is looking to cement a politically strong nation, rather than a regime of ax-army officials, who can instead focus on boosting his troops.
Choe has served in the past as Kim Jong Un’s personal emissary on visits abroad.
Ri Yong Ho
DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was given full membership of the party, after he mocked Donald Trump as “President Evil”.
The fire-breathing spokesman, who is a a highly respected, professional diplomat, has a long history of negotiating with the US.
He has become a major part of Jong-Un’s party in the last 18 months.
–Armed with his knowledge of the United States, Ri will be in the room when strategic decisions are debated and decided.
Pak Thae Song – The missile man
A number of vice chairmen were sacked and replaced by Kim, who revealed where he wants improvements in the country.
The vice Chairmen for Munitions Industry, Science Education, Propaganda and Agitation and Planning and Finance were all replaced.
Kim’s close aide Pak is a former deputy director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department, with a major role in the production of rocket engines.
In 2014, Pak was appointed Chairman of the South Pyongan WPK Provincial Committee, a job under which he was tasked with overseeing changes to a manufacturing plant for rocket and missile engines.
Pak was made a full member of the WPK party.
Kim Jong-Un is believed to be consolidating power after Trump hinted at armed conflict over the weekend.
Speaking at Minot Air Force Base, US vice president Mike Pence said North Korea should “never doubt the capabilities” of his nation’s Armed Forces.
He said: “While President Trump has made clear that the United States has, in his words, ‘great strength and patience’, all options are on the table.
By Zoie O’Brien