North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was conspicuously absent from a legislative session of the Communist regime, fueling speculation about his health.A few other chairs were shuffled;
The Supreme People’s Assembly held a session in Pyongyang Thursday and the North’s Korea Central Television aired a report about the meeting of the rubber-stamp legislature at 8 p.m. The report showed the podium where North Korea’s powerful leaders sit, but Kim was nowhere to be seen.
The Supreme People’s Assembly dismissed Choe Ryong-hae from the post of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and replaced him with Hwang Pyong-so, director of the General Political Bureau of Pyongyang’s Korean People’s Army. Hwang replaced Choe to head the bureau in May.Ominous.
Choe was also replaced on the National Defense Commission only five months after his appointment. He was named to the vice chairman post in April after Kim’s powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was executed in December 2013.
The National Defense Commission also had other reshuffles. Jang Jong-nam, former minister of the People’s Armed Forces, was removed from the commission while the incumbent minister, Hyon Yong-chol, and Ri Byong-chol, North Korea’s air force commander, joined the commission.