North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is accompanied by top military commanders, arms industry officials and diplomats on his trip to Russia. This could mean that defence-heavy agenda for meetings with President Vladimir Putin is on the table. North Korea did not name the members of the delegation, but analysts identified several key figures who appear to be accompanying Kim Jong Un in photos released by state media.
Defence leaders with Kim Jong Un
Ri Pyong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling workers’ party’s powerful central military commission and marshal of the army, the country’s top military rank, was seen waving alongside Kim Jong Un. He has overseen North Korea’s defence industry including its nuclear and missile programmes. He also travelled to Russia with Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.
Marshal Pak Jong Chon, new head of the party’s military political leadership, Pak Thae Song, a party secretary and chairman of a national space science and technology committee involved in a spy satellite program and Jo Chun Ryong, director of the munitions industry department were also seen with the North Korean leader.
Defence minister Kang Sun Nam is also likely to have gone on the trip to Russia though his face was not clearly identified in the photos, Reuters reported.
Who else is accompanying Kim Jong Un?
Foreign minister Choe Son Hui also shook hands with other officials in a receiving line at the train station. Kim’s sister and a senior party official, Kim Yo Jong, was seen standing beside the train, although it was unclear whether she boarded.
Some officials handling economic affairs were also seen accompanying Kim Jong Un. They include O Su Yong, a party secretary and director of the economy department; Pak Hun, vice premier of the cabinet responsible for construction; and Han Kwang Sang, chief of the party’s light industry department.