N. Korea military's former de facto No. 2 reappears in media

North Korea's official media provided further confirmation Saturday that the military's former No. 2, Choe Ryong Hae, has moved down in the pecking order after his replacement by Hwang Pyong So as director of the Korean People's Army General Political Bureau.

Reporting on top leader Kim Jong Un's attendance at a children's camp remodeling completion ceremony Friday, the official Korean Central News Agency also reported the presence of Hwang and Choe, with Choe's name coming after those of Hwang and Kim Ki Nam, a secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

It was the first time since April 15 for Choe's activities to be mentioned in the official media. Formerly introduced in KCNA reports as vice marshal and head of the army's political bureau, Saturday's report merely said he is a party secretary.

While the report showed that Choe has not been purged, it made clear that his position in the hierarchy is not what it was before and fueled speculation that he may either be in poor health or lost out in a power.

Choe, who assumed the post of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission on April 9, was previously seen to be the closest aide of Kim, especially in the wake of the sudden execution in December of the young leader's once-powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek for treason.