September 26, 2023

Choe Ryong Hae not purged, but no longer No. 2

Kim's former second-in-command still around, but apparently changing role

Choe Ryong Hae, the former director of the KPA General Political Bureau recently replaced by Hwang Pyong So, has reappeared in public after a more than two-week absence. Choe appeared with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and other high-ranking officials during events at the Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, Kangwon Province, on Friday, KCNA reported.

Choe, Kim's de facto second-in-command for many months, was recently replaced in his primary post as chief political officer in the military by Hwang Pyong So, who appears to be the new number two man in Pyongyang. The changes, which included the promotion of Hwang to vice marshal, the same rank as Choe, took place during Choe's second unexplained absence this year. South Korea's Ministry of Unification has suggested that Choe is suffering from health problems, also evident by the limp Choe was sporting in March.