North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a new second-in-command.
The position was created in January as part of a revision to the rules of the Workers' Party of Korea which is the communist political organ that rules the secretive regime.
It isn't clear yet who has filled this post.
Reading between North Korean lines I have in the studio with me our senior North Korea analyst, Dr. Go Myong-hyun.
Dr. Go, as always, thank you for being with us this evening.
So, what are you reading into North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's one, creation of this 'first secretary' post? Is this really a second in command in a regime where up until now, most of us have believed there could not be a second, third, or fourth in command, but just the one and absolutely commander in chief?
Some speculate the position could be vacant or occupied by Jo Yong-won or Kim Tok-hun. They're known to be two of the most powerful men outside of the Kim family in the regime.
Do you agree? Who are they?
Wouldn't Kim Jong-un's powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong be a more likely choice?
But, then there are those who argue that only members of the Politburo Standing Committee would be eligible for the new role which of course would rule out the possibility of Kim Yo-jong as although she does have influence "comparable to the second-most powerful person in North Korea," she does not occupy a high rank in the WPK.
Weren't there reports several months ago that the North Korean leader had delegated some of his official duties to his sister to oversee "general state affairs" to ease his workload? Could this be part of his burden-sharing initiatives?
North Korea released its first response to the Moon-Biden summit, and it was centered on the lifting of restrictions that had been imposed on South Korea's missiles for the past four decades. North Korea warned that it would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula and trigger an arms race. How do you analyze the level of hostility reflected in the response, and would it impact future Pyeongyang-Washington relations?
North Korea also said that "many countries" are noticing that the Biden administration's use of terms like 'pragmatic approach' or 'maximum flexibility' for its North Korea policy are nothing but a scheme. (" ") But experts say that this doesn't indicate North Korea's negative stance on Biden's policy, but rather it shows a possibility that the North may be holding backroom talks with the U.S. for official dialogue. Your thoughts?
South Korea-U.S. joint military drills are set for August, and it will likely be one of the determining factors for the resumption of Pyeongyang-Washington talks. How do you foresee things to pan out from this point on?
Dr. Go Myong-hyun, as always, many thanks for your insights. We appreciate it.