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N.K. first lady, top military, party grandees attend military parade

All Headlines 20:36 February 08, 2018

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- A military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday offered a rare glimpse into Kim Jong-un's inner circles in the military and party, with high-ranking officials flanking the North Korean leader on the podium.

Kim, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju, presided over the parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of the North's armed forces at Kim Il-sung Square, one day before the opening ceremony of the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The event was reduced in scale and program compared with last year's, Seoul defense officials said.

Standing next to Kim on the reviewing stand was Kim Jong-gak, the newly appointed chief of the military's powerful General Political Bureau. His appearance right next to the reclusive state's supreme leader underscored his exalted status, observers said.

Kim Jong-gak recently replaced Hwang Pyong-so, who was dismissed during a rare inspection that Seoul intelligence officials presume was triggered by his organization's "impure attitude."

Ri Myong-su, the chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, also appeared among the top military brass.

Top political grandees greeted the goose-stepping troops as well. Among them was Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader. She serves as a key official in the ruling Workers' Party's central committee.

Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Choe Ryong-hae, a vice chairman of the ruling party's central committee, were also present at the parade.

Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-nam will visit the South on Friday for a three-day visit as part of a high-level delegation to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics here.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) and Kim Jong-gak, the director of the North's military's General Political Bureau, salute a military parade in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korea's state television on Feb. 8, 2018. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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