With Cho Myung Rok's passing on the 6th, a Daily NK source has claimed that Kim Jong Eun was actually appointed First Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC) over the summer.
Prior to his death, Cho was a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Party and First Vice Chairman of the NDC, although illness precluded him from practically addressing his tasks.
But, as a source hailing from inside North Korea told The Daily NK today, “It was June when Kim Jong Eun was made First Vice Chairman of the NDC by cadres of provincial committees of the Party as a delegate to the Supreme People’s Assembly.”
He added, “Though he was appointed First Vice Chairman through personnel management of members of the NDC at the Supreme People's Assembly in June, his name was omitted since this was before his succession was publicized internationally.”
Additionally, he reported, “At that time, the slogan, ‘Having Comrade Youth Captain as the First Vice Chairman of the NDC at the Supreme People’s Assembly is the greatest wish and happiness of our people and army,’ circulated.”
His assertion adds weight to the suggestion that the revision of the Constitution finalized by the SPA in April, 2009 was primarily for the Kim Jong Eun succession.
At that time, the North Korean authorities put the Military-first Idea into the Constitution as its guiding ideology, expanded the authority of the NDC and specified the Chairman of the NDC as the leader of the state. At the same time, the National Defense Commission's role was enhanced as it was defined as “the highest leading organ of the defense of national sovereignty.”
Kim Jong Eun has also been publicized as the second figure on the committee for Cho Myung Rok’s funeral, following Kim Jong Il, the chair of the committee, which has 171 members.
It has been only two months since Kim was placed sixth in the power ranking as the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Party at the third Party Delegates’ Conference.
Cho Myung Rok stopped conducting public activities in 2007 due to health problems. It seems that Kim Jong Eun might have been in the position of Vice Chairman of the NDC while preparing the ground in the military for his succession.
Considering the fact that North Korea is rushing into revealing Kim Jong Eun's public activities in the media, it seems to be only a question of time before they publicize his position as Vice Chairman of the NDC.
One source, who has contacts with North Korean diplomats in China, also said, “There are no significant problems for the Youth Captain to play the role of Director of KPA General Political Department, which was also held by Cho Myung Rok.”