"--IANS/EFE"
Seoul, May 2 - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has appointed Hwang Pyong-so, his personal adviser, to the highest rank of the People's Army, making it his second promotion in hardly two weeks, state-run news agency KCNA reported Friday.

In a speech during the Labour's Day official dinner, Kim announced the appointment of Hwang as the director of the Korean People's Army - General Political Bureau, according to the KCNA report.

This post was previously occupied by Choe Ryong-hae, considered the number two of Pyongyang.

Hwang's promotion coincides with a significant reduction in his predecessor's public appearances, which some of the experts explain as a loss of Choe's influence in favour of the personal adviser of the supreme leader.

This is the second promotion of Hwang Pyong-so, an emerging figure in the North Korean Communist military regime, as last week he made his place in the highest elite of the state on receiving the title of vice marshal.

Vice marshal is the second highest rank in the army, next to the leader and also held by Choe Ryong-hae.

Hwang, 65, also occupies the charge of first deputy president of the Department of Guidance and Organisation.

The functions of this post include appointment of high-ranking officials and controlling political activities of all the chiefs, members of the Labour Party and ordinary citizens.

Since 2010, when Kim Jong-un became the successor of his father, dictator Kim Jong-il, this emerging figure has been one of the main personal advisers and trusted men of the North Korean leader, according to South Korean analysts.

They also say that Hwang gained confidence of Kim's dead mother, Ko Yong-hui, for his efforts to ease the succession.

Kim, 30, assumed the helm of the state in December 2011, after his father's unexpected death due to a heart attack, and since then he has been in power and is helped by much older trusted men.

--IANS/EFE

ab/dg


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