Ri Pyong-chol reinstated as top N. Korean official, report shows

SEOUL-- Ri Pyong-chol, known for his leading role in North Korea's nuclear and missile development under the Kim Jong-un regime, has returned to public view after a 10-month disappearance, Pyongyang's state media showed Tuesday.

He was known to have been dismissed from all posts in July last year as he was accused of neglecting official duties.

But he was among dignitaries participating in the nighttime military parade staged in central Pyongyang on Monday to commemorate the 90th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army (KPRA), according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

It called him a "member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the WPK Central Committee."

The politburo presidium, previously held by only five members including leader Kim, is one of the North's most powerful party organizations that determines key policies.

With the addition of Ri, the presidium appears to have been reorganized into a six-member organ.

Observers say the North's decision to include two military officials in the presidium could reflect Kim's intention to speed up the country's weapons development.

Photos, released by the KCNA, showed Ri standing next to Kim during the event, together with Pak Jong-chon, the North's top military official.

Ri reportedly spearheaded the North's nuclear and missile development from the early months of Kim's rule that started in late 2011. He was even given the title of "marshal," the highest rank of the country's soldiers.

Delivering a speech at the parade, Kim stated his regime will bolster the nation's nuclear capabilities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency