One is a cyber warfare expert and counterfeiter described by one expert as the "North Korean version of Dick Cheney." Another is the former chairman of the country's youth soccer and taekwondo associations. One is a thuggish enforcer, one is a mild-mannered consensus builder. They are the old, stern-faced men lurking in the background of propaganda photos while Kim Jong-un grins, points, and smokes cigarettes.
They helped Kim take over the regime, and they may ultimately be the people who rule for years to come.
Plenty of scrutiny has recently been focused on Kim, the country's Supreme Leader, who was conspicuously missing from public view for more than five weeks before seemingly reappearing in state-run media on Monday.