FILE PHOTO : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) test launch with Ri Pyong Chol (2nd L), Kim Jong Sik (C) and Jang Chang Ha (2nd R). in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS/File Photo
Reuters: Exclusive: Kim's rocket stars - The trio behind North Korea's missile program
After successful missile launches, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un often exchanges smiles and hugs with the same three men and shares a celebratory smoke with them.
The three, shown with Kim in photographs and TV footage in North Korean media, are of great interest to Western security and intelligence agencies since they are the top people in the secretive country's rapidly accelerating missile program.
They include Ri Pyong Chol, a former top air force general; Kim Jong Sik, a veteran rocket scientist; and Jang Chang Ha, the head of a weapons development and procurement center.
The photographs and TV footage show that the three are clearly Kim's favorites. Their behavior with him is sharply at variance with the obsequiousness of other senior aides, most of whom bow and hold their hands over their mouths when speaking to the young leader.
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WNU Editor: This type of information is usually classified top secret. Hmmm .... more leaks from the intel community .... or some excellent investigative work by Reuters?