North Korea’s Jang Song Taek.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law was elevated June 7, to the second-most powerful position in the leadership, reports The Los Angeles Times. The promotion of Jang Song Taek, 64, long believed to be one of the most powerful men behind the scenes in North Korea, was announced after an unexpected meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, presided over by the ailing Kim. A longtime family confidant, 81-year-old Choe Yong Rim, was named prime minister, a largely ceremonial post. The assembly formally named Jang as the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, the top ruling body in North Korea. Kim is the chairman. The reshuffling appears intended to pave the way for Kim’s inexperienced and little-known youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to become the titular leader after his father’s death.

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