Choe Ryong-hae, a vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party and known to be one of the closest aides to leader Kim Jong-un, has been picked as a member of the party's powerful military commission, the North's state-run media reported Sunday.
Choe, 67, was elected to the Central Military Commission of the North's Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) during the second plenum of its seventh central committee on Saturday in Pyongyang, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
In the reshuffle, conducted ahead of the founding anniversary of the party which falls on Oct. 10, Kim's younger sister, Yo-jong, has also been elected as an alternate member of WPK central committee's Political Bureau, according to the report.
Choe is currently one of five standing committee members of WPK's politburo -- along with Kim Jong-un, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam and Hwang Pyong-so, director of the general political bureau of North Korea's armed forces.
He was once believed to have fallen out of Kim's favor and punished for mishandling a hydro power plant project in November 2015 but has apparently returned to the party leadership.
In his report to the party, leader Kim claimed that North Korea's "national economy has grown on their strength this year," despite the escalating sanctions over the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
"The nuclear weapons of the DPRK are a precious fruition borne by its people's bloody struggle for defending the destiny and sovereignty of the country from the protracted nuclear threats of the U.S. imperialists," Kim was quoted as saying. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (Yonhap News)