Kim Jong-un's aide reappears after three months
Seoul: A close aide of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reappeared in public three months after rumours of his purging surfaced, South Korean authorities said on Friday.
Television visuals from the North Korean state broadcaster suggested that Hwang Pyong-so, who held the rank of Vice Marshal, attended the commemorative events of the 76th anniversary of the birth of the former leader Kim Jong-il, father of the current leader, in Pyongyang, reports Efe news.
Hwang, who was considered one of the most important members of the North Korean Politburo and one of Kim Jong-un's closest aides, had not appeared or been mentioned by the state media since October, leading to speculation that he had been purged or sent for re-education.
According to South Korea's National Intelligence Service, Hwang had fallen out of favour with the current second-in-command of the regime, Choe Ryong-hae, in November and was purged.
Choe was one of the top officials who accompanied Kim during his visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the North Korean capital where the embalmed bodies of his father and grandfather Kim Il-sung are preserved.
According to experts from 38 North, an American website that specialises in North Korea, Hwang was also among the officials who had appeared, along with Kim, in a group photograph of the commemorative event.