SEOUL Ė A close aide of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reappeared in public three months after rumors of his purging had surfaced, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported 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 of the country, Kim Jong-il, father of the current leader, in Pyongyang.
Hwang, who was considered one of the most important members of the North Korean Politburo and one of Kim Jong-unís closest aides, had not appeared or been mentioned by the state media since October 2017, which led to speculations that he had been purged or sent for reeducation.
According to South Koreaís National Intelligence Service, Hwang had fallen out of favor 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 North Korean state news agency KCNA.
According to experts from 38 North, an American website that specializes in North Korea, Hwang was also among the officials who had appeared, along with Kim, in a group photograph of the commemorative event.