North Korea promotes leader Kim’s close aide to Politburo position
Written by tokyoclub on September 7, 2021
Pak Jong Chon. (KNS/Kyodo)
North Korea has promoted its military chief who is a close aide to leader Kim Jong Un to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the ruling party, state-run media reported Tuesday.
Pak Jong Chon’s promotion comes several months after a previous Political Bureau member was sacked. The member’s demotion was apparently over the mishandling of the country’s COVID-19 response and efforts to prop up the economy.
Pak, chief of staff of the Korean People’s Army, has been also elected as secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
At a ruling party meeting in June, Kim said the food situation in the nation was “getting tense,” as North Korea’s agricultural sector was devastated by powerful typhoons and flooding last year.
North Korea also said in a report to the United Nations this year that it has faced its worst food crisis in more than a decade, sparking fears that its citizens have encountered serious difficulties in obtaining daily essentials.
Pyongyang, meanwhile, has cut off land traffic to and from its neighbors since early 2020 over concern about the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, North Korea’s trade with China has slowed.
Beijing is Pyongyang’s closest and most influential ally in economic terms. North Korea depends on China for over 90 percent of its trade.
North Korea still claims to be free of the coronavirus.