North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army Naval Unit 167 in Pyongyang. REUTERS/KCNA
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The man in the olive drab uniform and oversized Soviet-style military cap who strode through South Korea's main airport last week has climbed from an obscure desk job in North Korea to the most powerful position outside the ruling Kim family.Hwang Pyong So, now a top military aide to the North's leader Kim Jong Un, has had an unprecedented rise to the top rungs of North Korea's leadership in the space of a few years. Hwang was associated with Kim Jong Un in the late 2000s when the young man was first named in state media reports announcing his party and military credentials.As others fell by the wayside, Hwang became chief of the General Political Bureau of the army, a powerful position that mobilizes the military for the leader, earlier this year.Kim Jong Un is chairman.Pyongyang's military leadership has been in a state of perpetual reshuffle since Kim Jong Un took power.Experts are divided as to how much control the OGD, and Hwang, have over Kim Jong Un, but there is general agreement that there has long been mutual dependency between party cadres and the Kim family.
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