updated 14 September 2012
Hwang Pyong So (Hwang Pyo’ng-so’) is a deputy (vice) director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department [OGD], an alternate (candidate) member of the KWP Central Committee and a deputy (delegate) to the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]. Hwang also holds the rank of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Colonel General (sangjang). Since the death of Kim Jong Il in December 2011, Hwang has emerged as a key close aide of current DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Un.
Hwang Pyong So’s official career began during the 1970s. There is little information available in the open literature about what official positions he held or in what party organizations he was involved. He has most likely spent his entire career in OGD being successively promoted from cadre to instructor to section chief, etc., until his promotion to deputy director. Hwang was appointed to his current position of OGD deputy director around 2005. He regularly accompanied Kim Jong Il on guidance tours (inspections) during 2005 until 2007, mainly at KPA units. From 2007 to 2010, Hwang appeared irregularly in DPRK state media reports. It is likely that during this time he began to work with Kim Jong Un.
Hwang Pyong So was elected a deputy (delegate) to the 12th SPA in March 2009. At the 3rd Party Conference on 28 September 2010 he was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the KWP Central Committee. In April 2011, Hwang was promoted to Colonel General by Kim Jong Il in a KPA promotions list issued on the 99th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung. Hwang was ranked #124 on the National Funeral Committee formed after Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011.
Based on his public appearances with Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, Hwang Pyong So’s portfolio consists of several key security organizations. Hwang attended a joint field inspection by KJI and KJU of the Guard Command’s headquarters at KPA Unit #963 in 2011 and he was prominently seen in state media coverage of KJU’s inspection of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force Command in 2012. Given his formal position, as identified in state media coverage, and his public appearances Hwang most likely works in Kim Jong Un’s personal secretariat. In that position Hwang would serve as the primary, though informal, interface between the central leadership and the organizations or agencies under his purview.
Hwang Pyong So was born in 1946. He attended Mangyo’ngdae Revolutionary School and Kim Il Sung University.
Sources: “Kim Jong Il Enjoy Performance Given by Servicemen’s Families,” Korean Central News Agency, May 20, 2005; “Kim Jong Il Inspects Young Cadres’ Training Sub-unit of KPA,” Korean Central News Agency, June 3, 2006; “Kim Jong Il Inspects Sub-Unit of KPA Tank Division,” Korean Central News Agency, December 9, 2006; “Kim Jong Il Inspects Command of KPA Unit #946,” Korean Central News Agency, December 11, 2006; “First in the World! Portraits of all 100 ‘Top Officials’ Controlling north Korea–Scoop on ‘Latest Pecking Order’ of Untouchable Country,” Tokyo Flash, April 17, 2007, pp. 78-82 (in Japanese); “Members and Alternate Members of WPK [KWP] Central Committee,” September 28, 2012; “Kim Jong Il Issues Order on Raising Military Ranks of KPA Officers,” Korean Central News Agency, April 13, 2011