Meet the new No. 2 in North Korea

A new official North Korean position has been added just a hair under the top on the personnel chart and whoever is tapped for it may be seen as second in command to Kim Jong Un, according to an unnamed source cited by South Korea’s Yonhap News.

The person likely to be named to the position, Yonhap’s source says, is Jo Yong Won, 63 – who has rocketed up in the hierarchy since 2015 and on that basis seems perfectly positioned for such a role.

If Yonhap has got it right, the appointment hands considerable additional authority to a man who lately has owned the role of Kim’s tiger disciplinarian – and at a time when disciplining and controlling the population, high and low, appears to have become the regime’s top priority.

Before we expand on that, here’s a cautionary note abut interpretation of this reported development: Second-in-command at this point doesn’t necessarily or even probably equate to designated successor.

Far more likely is that naming Jo to be Number Two would be intended to help prolong the life of the obese, seriously health-challenged Kim Jong Un while Number One’s young children grow up so that one of them can succeed him.