SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) — A mystery man seen standing next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in recent commemoration ceremonies is likely to be the head of the country’s arms development center, a Seoul official said Tuesday.
Wild media speculation emerged over the identity of the middle-aged man after he was seen standing next to Kim during the country’s commemoration ceremonies for late leader Kim Jong-il on Sunday and Monday.
North Korean figures’ positions at official events are key signs indicating their ranks and levels of importance in the regime.
The Seoul government official said the man is likely to be Choe Chun-sik, the head of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which is in charge of developing military weapons.
“We presume Choe Chun-sik is related to the North’s recent launch of a long-range rocket,” the official said on condition of anonymity. [Yonhap]