North Korean nominal head is Kim Jong Un loyalist

Mr Choe Ryong Hae now holds a position of rare prominence for anyone outside the Kim family.
Mr Choe Ryong Hae now holds a position of rare prominence for anyone outside the Kim family.

SEOUL • North Korea's new nominal head of state is a long-time loyalist with deep ties to the ruling Kim family and whose fortunes have closely followed the rise of leader Kim Jong Un, analysts said.

Mr Choe Ryong Hae was named president of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, state media reported yesterday.

He replaces Mr Kim Yong Nam, who had held the position since it was created in 1998.

Mr Choe will be the constitutional head of state and is likely to be the public face of North Korea at many official functions.

Analysts say Mr Choe now holds a position of rare prominence for anyone outside the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea since it was established in 1948.

Born in 1950, Mr Choe began to forge his relationship with Mr Kim Jong Un after being tasked in 2009 to help him prepare to succeed his father, Mr Kim Jong Il.

Mr Choe's father had ties to Kim Il Sung, Mr Kim Jong Un's grandfather and the founding leader of North Korea, and Mr Choe himself had a personal relationship with Mr Kim Jong Il for decades.

 
 

He survived years of purges after Mr Kim Jong Un took power.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'North Korean nominal head is Kim loyalist'. Print Edition | Subscribe