According a NKSIS source in January 17, 2012, the most influential person in North Korea is undoubtedly Choi Young Lim.Jang SungTaek is considered to be pretty powerless next to Choi YoungLim Choi, and Kim KyoungHee has long been rubbing shoulders with Choi YoungLim, even calling him “uncle” over the yearsWhile Choi YoungLim has not exercised power visibly in the past, his stronghold among political leaders is felt throughout. Ensuing Kim JongIl’s demise, Prime Minister Choi YongLim’s power and influence is expected to be more pronounced after the Fourth Party’s Representative’s meeting.
NKSIS source reported that Choi YoungLim personally oversaw personnel management issues involving Choi RyoungHae and Kim KookTae, forestalling their demotion,possiblydischarge, in the aftermath of their career debacles. On the other hand, it is widely believed that the reasonChoi TaeBok, Secretary of Science and Education, had not successfully ascended the political ladder over the years, is largely due to direct manipulation from Choi Young Lim’s part.
Another source of NKSIS reported that Choi YoungLim, a product of the Escort Command Services, befriended the young Kim JongIl many decades ago. In 1965, Choi was elected to spearhead the Jung Ang Dang, and in 1973, he served as the vice minister of Leaders’ Organization. He went on to become the clerk responsible for Kim IlSung’s affairs in 1980’s. Choi Young Lim is admired and respected among his peers both in the military and in political arena. When it comes to handling personnel matters, both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il relied heavily on Choi Young Lim’s advices and recommendations.
Our sources report that even Kim Jong Eun heeds to the advice of Choi Young Lim much more than to Kim KyoungHee or Jang Sung Taek. Choi’s actual influence and power is admittedly much more than what was previously known or perceived. Choi Young Lim’s own daughter, Choi Sun Hee, emerged as a major figure representing North Korea at the North America-North Korea talks recently. We expect to see her take on more active duties and roles for the party in the near in the future. While power and attention has historically been polarized solely within Kim Il Sung and his successors, somehow attention is increasingly diverted to activities of Prime Minister Choi. This is evidenced in plethora of news reporting involving Choi Young Lim both in TV and in newspaper across North Korea.
Translation by Hyunjeong Joyce Rho Supervised by Stella Cho
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