N. Korea opens position for second-in-command, Jo Yong-won most likely to fill: Sources
Updated: 2021-06-01 17:09:43 KST
North Korea has made room for a second-in-command, with one of Kim Jong-un's closest aides Jo Yong-won likely to get it.
Sources familiar with the regime say the First Party Secretary role was created at the Workers' Party Congress held earlier this year.
"Jo Yong-won is known to be a loyal aide rather than someone who exercises power, so it's highly likely that Jo will be in charge of connecting the leader to members of the Politburo Standing Committee."
Should he get it, he will fill the second highest position in the party after Kim Jong-un, who is General-Secretary.
After being promoted in January, Jo is one of five members on the Politburo Standing Committee alongside leader Kim Jong-un, Choe Ryong-hae, Ri Pyong-chol and Kim Tok-hun.
While it's unusual for the regime to give someone such a clear second-in-command role, experts say this role could shed light on who will be Kim Jong-un's successor.
"If Kim Yo-jong takes the role, she will succeed her brother. But if Jo Yong-won does, he will be in charge of administrative tasks, and this is because of the regime's so-called Baekdu bloodline."
The expert added that if someone else takes the second-in-command position, the possibility of that person exercising real power cannnot be ruled out.
The First Party Secretary is the title that Kim Jong-un held for four years from the time he took over from his late father in 2012.
That secretariat system was then scrapped, but in January, North Korea adopted it again, and Kim Jong-un was named General-Secretary.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.