Hong Sok-Hyong, front row and fourth from left, is seen with other members of the Korean Workers Party secretariat at a funeral ceremony.
Hong, 75, was named as chief of the planning and finance department of the Workers’ Party in July 2010, replacing Pak Nam-Gi who was executed in public early last year for the disastrous currency reform.
Hong emerged as the country’s top economic policymaker in September last year when he was given a Party Politburo membership and named as the Party secretary in charge of economy at the biggest Party conference in decades.
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He was widely expected to serve as a key economic aide to the country’s leader Kim Jong-Il’s son and heir-apparent Kim Jong-Un because the Party conference was used for the son’s political debut.