It has been confirmed that North Korea’s Ministry of Commerce now has a new head, with Ri Seong Ho elevated to the post. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, the move was announced alongside a number of other Cabinet changes during the 5th session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly last month.
The change appears to confirm a February 16th report carried by Daily NK in which it was revealed that the then-incumbent, Kim Bong Cheol, had been killed in a helicopter crash.
Kim was last heard of when his name appeared on a list of attendees at the opening of the 3rd ‘No.1 Department Store Product Exhibition’ on January 3rd this year. However, on February 16th, Daily NK reported his death alongside the head of the North Pyongan Province commercial department and three others in a helicopter crash two days earlier.
A source in the region told Daily NK that the men were all killed while en route to distribute gifts from Kim Jong Il to the residents of outlying islands in the West Sea to celebrate the former leader’s birthday.