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Girl group leader becomes powerful political figure in North Korea


Hyon Song-wol, the leader of North Korea’s all-girl propaganda band Moranbong Band, is among the noteworthy figures joining the North Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee at the party’s recent reshuffle. She now co-serves as an alternate member of the committee’s political bureau, its most powerful body. There have been prior cases of artists joining the party’s Central Committee, as either regular or alternate members, according to sources, Wednesday. But Hyon’s rise still surprised many because she was once believed to have been executed by Kim Jong-un after being embroiled in a pornography scandal in 2013. The sources speculated Kim “highly assessed” Hyon’s loyalty in December 2015 when her band visited Beijing. The band had been scheduled to perform before high-ranking Chinese officials as part of efforts to bolster Pyongyang-Beijing ties. But Hyon called off the gig abruptly and returned to Pyongyang with her band just hours before the performance, after Chinese authorities asked them to modify part of the programme. The authorities reportedly found the programme problematic for excessively idolising Kim. But Hyon refused their request and decided to cancel the performance instead. She reportedly claimed “not a single dot can be taken out of the programme because it is already supervised by our leader”. Kim would promote her to join the Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, Meanwhile, there are growing complaints among senior North Korean officials over Hyon excessively wielding power, the sources said.

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