The North Korean regime has promoted Hwang Pyong So in position and regime hierarchy, as seen through observation of state media. Hwang, a close confident of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, was elevated to one of the highest military ranks, ascended to the Party Central Military Commission, and moved up in the order of precedence among senior officials.
North Korea’s Central Military Commission and National Defense Commission promoted Hwang to the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army on April 26, KCNA reported April 28. He was only first seen wearing the four stars of a full general on April 15, meaning he moved up two ranks – from colonel general – in a short time.
In an April 27 KCNA report on an artillery drill, Hwang was referred to for the first time as a member of the party CMC. The CMC is the party organ that makes military and defense policy for North Korea and indirectly controls the military. It’s probable that Hwang may also soon be added to the NDC, which lost members earlier this month.
In the same KCNA report, Hwang was listed ahead of Ri Yong Gil and Jang Jong Nam. Hwang has never been put ahead of Ri and Jang in state media before. The order in which state media lists officials reflects their current standing.
Just last month, Hwang was referred to as a first deputy department director in the WPK for the first time by KCNA. Though KCNA didn’t specify at the time, his department is likely still the Organization and Guidance Department. The OGD is highly influential within the ruling Workers’ Party.
A member of both the Party Central Committee and the OGD, Hwang is generally believed to be an important member of Kim’s inner circle. Hwang typically appears alongside Kim in public more than almost any other official, especially within the past six months.
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