According to the ROK MOU report, Kim Kyong-hui was ranked 15th while O was ranked seventh in the North's power elite.
General O was named the deputy to the North Korean National Defense Commission (NDC) in February, and observers said it was only natural for him to rise in the country's power structure. O and his family are reportedly behind North Korea's supernote production.
The report also stated Kim Kyong-hui sat on the rostrum in 1994 when the country held a meorial shortly after the death of her father. While Kim Kyong-hui was seated at the rostrum for this year's event, her husband, Chang Sung-taek (Jang Song-thaek), first vice director of the Korea Worker's Party with oversight responsibility for the police, judiciary, and other areas of internal security, was not.
Here is a translation of the Hanguk Ilbo article (original in Korean) on the subject. The article also give the ROK MOU's assessment of top 23 most powerful people in the North Korean political hierarchy.
[In the] North, O Kuk Ryol and Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i Are Emerging – Two Pillars Who Lead Succession by Kim Cho'ng-u'n Appear on the Rostrum for the First Time – Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i's Husband Chang So'ng-t'aek Not Included in the Order
Hanguk Ilbo in Korean
By Cho'ng Nok-yong
It has been confirmed that recently, O Kuk Ryol, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission [NDC], and NDC Chairman Kim Jong Il's younger sister Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i, director of the party Central Committee Light Industry Department, newly appeared in the rostrum hierarchy that can be said to be North Korea's outward power hierarchy [taeoejo'k kwo'llyo'k so'yo'l].
According to the "rostrum hierarchy at the central memorial meeting held on 8 July 2009 to mark the 15th anniversary of Kim Il Sung's death" submitted by the Unification Ministry to the National Assembly on 13 October, O Kuk Ryol ranked seventh, and Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i 15th.
The two persons have been listed in the rostrum hierarchy for the first time this time, although they are Chairman Kim's closest confidants [ch'oech'u'kku'n] and real powers [kwo'llyo'k silse]. These persons' appearance in the rostrum hierarchy is gaining attention as it suggests the direction of the post-Kim Jong Il succession regime.
The rostrum hierarchy submitted this time by the Unification Ministry is a material officially made public in 10 months since a central report meeting held on 8 September 2008 to commemorate the 60th founding anniversary of the North Korean regime. Even though it does not reflect the hierarchy of real powers [silgwo'nja so'yo'l] as it is, the rostrum hierarchy serves as the most important criterion by which to grasp the key power group in North Korea where an official power hierarchy is not announced.
Together with Chairman Kim's brother-in-law Chang So'ng-t'aek who is director of the Workers Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee Administrative Department, Vice Chairman O Kuk Ryol is considered to be the two major actual powers [yangdae silse]. It is to the extent that US intelligence authorities have recently noted that "two factions having O Kuk Ryol and Chang So'ng-t'aek as the central figures exist inside North Korea's power circles."
In particular, there is an observation that the two persons are taking the lead in establishing a succession regime for Chairman Kim's third son Cho'ng-un. However, Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i's husband Chang So'ng-t'aek has not been included in the hierarchy this time, either.
An expert on North Korean issues said that "although the power of the NDC has been strengthened by the amendment of North Korea's constitution in April this year, the overall frame of the power hierarchy is being maintained," adding that "however, O Kuk Ryol's and Kim Kyo'ng-hu'i's rapid emergence can be seen as something in consideration of a succession regime for Kim Cho'ng-u'n."
According to the recent rostrum hierarchy, Chief of the People's Army General Staff Yi Yo'ng-ho, who was appointed in February this year, also appeared for the first time in the rostrum hierarchy, replacing former Chief of General Staff Kim Kyo'k-sik. The first to the fourth places in this rostrum hierarchy are the same as in the hierarchy of September last year.
[Those ranking top four] were in the [following] order: NDC Chairman Kim Jong Il; titular head of state Kim Yong Nam, the president of the Supreme People's Assembly [SPA] Presidium; Cabinet Premier Kim Yong Il, and Kim Yong Chun, minister of People's Armed Forces. NCD member Jon Pyong Ho who ranks fifth and NDC Vice Chairman Ri Yong Mu who ranks sixth exchanged their ranks in comparison with [their ranks] of September last year.
Former Chief of the People's Army General Staff Kim Kyo'k-sik, who ranked seventh in September last year, was excluded from the ranking. Also excluded from the ranking are People's Army Vice Marshal Kim Ik-hyo'n who died in January this year, People's Army Vice Marshal Ri Chong-san, and Nam Su'ng-u, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan [GAKRJ].
In terms of the affiliations of the 23 people included this time in the rostrum hierarchy, eight of them are from the NDC or the military, eight from the WPK, four from the SPA, one from the Cabinet, and two from other [sectors]. [This distribution] is not much different from September last [year].