Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
A successor is certainly needed on the Kangwon Provincial KWP Committee.
On 26 December, KCNA published the obituary of Kangwon KWP Provincial Chief Secretary Ri Chol-bong. Mr. Ri was a KPA veteran and “held the posts of minister and director of the political bureau of the people’s security organ, vice department director of the WPK Central Committee, minister of City Administration and director of the Political Bureau of the Ministry of Railways from early in the 1980s.” He was also a member of the Budget Committee at the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly and former chairman of the Korea-Iran Friendship Association. Like many senior KWP cadres, Mr. Ri had a lost period in the late 1990’s. In October 2006, Ri Chol-bong was appointed Chief KWP Secretary in Kangwon Province. KCNA also reports that Ri Chol-bong “died in a traffic accident at the age of 78 on December 25.” Kim Jong-il had his customary floral wreath delivered with “his deep condolences.”
Ri Chol-bong first appeared in Kim Jong-il’s entourage around 6 January, 2009, during General-Secretary Kim’s visit to the Wonsan Youth Power Station. In total, Mr. Ri escorted Kim Jong-il seven (7) times, all in 2009.