Choe Ryong-hae , who was widely seen as North Korea's de-facto number two, appears to have been demoted.
Over the weekend, Pyongyang's official daily, the Rodong Sinmun, listed him as an ordinary member of the ruling Workers' Party's Politburo instead of his former title as a standing committee member.
Speculation about the change first arose when a state media report last month listed Choe's name *after Hwang Pyong-so , the chief of the General Political Bureau of the North Korean Army.
North Korea experts suggest the army chief has leapfrogged Choe as the regime's second-most-powerful man.
They add North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might be trying to ensure that power is not concentrated on certain figures and that Kim may be confident now that he has cemented his position.