Technocrat Pak Pong Ju, who served as DPRK Premier from 2003 to 2007, has taken the position of deputy (vice) director of the CC KWP Light Industry Department. His presence at the 50th anniversary of the Okryu Restauarant, broadcasted by KCBS, identified a man of the same name holding that position. On 15 August 2010 Mainichi Shimbun, citing informed sources, reported on Pak’s return to the central party. He previously served as deputy director of the Light Industry Department in December 1993. Pak has had ties to Kim Kyong Hui, and Jang Song Taek, for nearly three decades.
Pak was rumored to have attended an opulent wedding, along with other members of Jang’s political machine, who were subsequently dismissed or demoted from their positions. Pak was more likely dismissed due to his connections to the 2 July Decree, as well as his advocacy for business and labor laws. He seems to be part of a group of technocratic political managers, congregated in the central party, who will implement the DPRK’s new external economic policies. Pak Pong Ju is likely tied to the country’s new economic laws announced by KCNA on 13 August.
Pak was appointed Premier at the 11th SPA in 2003. He was accused of misappropriation of funds, suspended in June 2006 and formally replaced (“recalled”) in April 2007 by Kim Yong Il. From 1998 to 2003 Pak was the Minister of Chemical Industry. He was a party political manager of the country’s chemical industry when he was appointed as Kim Kyong Hui’s deputy in the early 1990s. He participated in the consolidation of the Light Industry Department into the party Economic Policy Inspection Department, where he was deputy director until 1998.
After he was removed as Premier, Pak returned to his earlier position of party factory manager.