South Korea has a new face on its financial advisory boards: Kim Jong Un’s father.
The country’s Ministry of Finance announced the appointment of former South Korean government advisor Kim Kwon Kyu as an advisory board member on Thursday, marking the first time that an adult in the South Korean elite has taken a seat on an advisory panel.
Kwon Kyun is also a former South Korea national security adviser, according to South Korea news agency Yonhap.
The move was a surprising one for the South, which is often viewed as a safe haven for the ruling elite and is considered a bastion of capitalism and democracy.
Kwok Kyu has been a political ally of the family since 2012, when he joined the National Intelligence Service, which was created to counter the influence of the North Korean government.
His son, Kim Jong Nam, is the younger sibling of the late Kim Jong Il.
In addition to the advisory board position, Kwon Pyong Joon is an honorary director of the Korean Central Bank, the government said.
The new advisory board members are: Kim Kyu, a former member of South Korean parliament, and former chief of the National Security Commission, according a Ministry of Foreign Affairs news release.
Kwon Jong-nam, a member of the ruling Saenuri Party, is an independent scholar and scholar of North Korea and the state, the news release said.
The names were confirmed by the ministry on Thursday.
Korean leaders have long maintained that their elites do not have a formal role on the country’s financial committees, a point that critics have frequently brought up in recent years.
Kwang Hyun-sung, the president of South Koreas largest banking association, said the appointment was a “great victory” and showed South Korea is “ready to be a global leader.”
The country should be the center of the global economy, he added.
South Korea is the largest investor in China, the world’s second-largest economy, according the Financial Times, but the country is still reeling from the North’s brutal, decades-long nuclear test in 2006.