Reshuffles in the North Korean leadership

On April 11, North Korean authorities replaced its Cabinet premier and president of the Presidium of its legislative body during Thursday’s 14th SPA parliamentary meeting.

Kim Jong-un was also re-elected chairman of the State Affairs Commission. Kim Yong-nam steps down and was replaced by Choe Ryong-hae.

Premier Pak Pong-ju replaced by with Kim Jae-ryong – a senior member of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. Nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, and Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui elected as members of the State Affairs Commission.

On the same day, Kim Jong-un ordered to promote the military ranks of commanding officers of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on Sunday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung. According to the order, Pak Jong-chon, Kim Kwang-hyok and Kim Myon-sik were promoted to general and thirty three persons including Jang Yong-su and Ko In-chol to major general.

On April 14, Order of Kim Il-sung were conferred on Ryu Jae-yong, Ri Chong-bok and Nam Ki-ho on the occasion of the birth anniversary of President Kim Il-sung.

Kim Jong Un, senior Party and government officials Takes Part in Election of Deputies to SPA

Senior  Party and government officials went to sub-constituencies across the  country on Sunday to take part in the election of deputies to the 14th  Supreme People’s Assembly together with voters.

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Kim Yo-jong arrived in South Korea

A high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister has arrived at a train station in Pyeongchang hours ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Kim Yo-jong on Friday became officialy the first member of her family to visit South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War. However it’s known that Kim Yong-ju, the younger brother of Kim Il-sung used to visit South Korean in the 70’s. Jang Sung-thaek, the husband of the aunt of Kim Jong-un was also several times in South Korea.  Kim Yong-nam, the North Korean official head of state, who is accompaying Kim Yo-jong, is also a far member of the Kim family.

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North Korea conducts new intercontinental missile test: Analysis and Opinion

For a while I considered that NK was doing these ballistic attemtps as a marketing issue, in order to sell its technology in spite of the resolution United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874. In my opinion when NK is selling its technology for example to Iran (Shahab missiles), they sell and transport it with the agreement of Chinese authorities as these weapons need to reach their target via China.

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North Korea conducts its fifth nuclear test: report and comments

As it was presumed, North Korea conducted a new nuclear test, its fifth one, at its famous site based at Punggye-ri on the 9th September. This test caused an earthquake of 5.3 magnitude, which is identical to January activity. Meanwhile in Pyongyang, it’s the national day, an important holiday in North Korea.

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North Korean Foreign Minister to Visit the United States For First Time in 15 Years

According to the South Korean Broadcasting System, “North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong (a.k.a Ri Chol) is scheduled to visit the United States in mid-September for a United Nations general assembly in New York. This marks the first time a North Korean foreign minister will visit the U.S. in 15 years.

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Credentials to Kim Yong Nam from Ambassador of Ireland to DPRK

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, received credentials from Aingeal O’Donoghue, ambassador of Ireland to the DPRK, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Tuesday. Aingeal O’Donoghue will be based in Beijing. It’s the first time that an Irish will be attached to the DPRK. Ireland used to have to diplomatic relations with the DPRK.

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Some left but some stay: a quick review of the election to the SPA

Analyzing the list of people who were chosen at the new SPA (Supreme People Assembly of North Korea) election, we can notice that as usually the same people were chosen as in previous elections except some little changes. It would be a great challenge to analyze each person chosen to the SPA, therefore I would like to provide some information concerning only a minor part of these people.

The Jang dream team

Some people associated to Jang Sung Thaek (the uncle of Kim Jong Eun who was executed in December 2013) were chosen to the SPA session including:

Ri Chol – the former tutor of Kim Jong Eun – who was supposedly dead…according to South Korean newspapers.

Ji Jae Ryong – the DPRK ambassador to China- was also chosen. Ji Jae Ryong is considered as a former friend of Jang Sung Thaek. Jang Sung Thaek was responsible for his nomination as an ambassador of the DPRK to the former Yugoslavia in the 80’s.

Ri Kwang Gun – a NK technocrat who worked in Germany and Bangladesh – was also reelected. He was responsible for some of the business of the Jang family. Maybe some of them had betrayed Jang ? That’s also a possibility which may explain that they are still alive (I personally do believe that the reality is more complicated).

Interestingly Mun Kyong Dok (the head of the KWP in Pyongyang and a jovial friend of Jang Sung Thaek) was not elected.

Other nominations

Long-term associates of Kim Jong Il were reelected. This was done in order to maintain the Pact of Stability between Kim Jong Eun and the DPRK leadership. Among them we can quote:

Ri Ul Sol, Yang Hong Sop,  Jo Yon Jun, O Kuk Ryol, Kim Yong Ju (Kim Jong Eun uncle and Kim Il Sung brother), Kim Kyok Shik, Ju Kyu Jang, Kim Yong Dae, Kim Yong Nam, Kang Sok Ju, Ro Tu Chol, Pyong In Son, Choe Pu Il, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Hwi, Ma Won Chun, Jon Yon Jon, Kim Kye Kwan, An Kum Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Yong Chun, Sim Chol Ho, O Il Jong, Hwang Pyong So, Ri Kil Song (the former procurator of the DPRK, a 90 years old politician), Kim Wan Su, Kim Ki Nam, Pak Ui Chun, O Kum Chol, Thae Jong Su, O Su Yong (one of my favorite politician in terms of influence over the DPRK)…and many others

Own conclusions

The family of Kim Jong Eun is not fully visible in the list of SPA delegates. Kim Jong Eun was selected at the 111 place (is it not sweet ?), Kim Jong Nam, an enemy of Kim Jong Eun and a half-brother of the leader, was not chosen. He’s supposedly under the protection of the Chinese police. How long ? We do not know.