Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Ri Chol, an executive officer of the Joint Venture and Investment Commission of the DPRK, was one of the 50 members of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee who traveled to Beijing with Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek). Among his former positions, Ri is the immediate past DPRK Ambassador to Switzerland and the UN Mission Geneva. In those positions Ri conducted a number of interactions with the UN and international nongovernment organizations [NGO]. Ri was observed in February 2012 during Orascom CEO Naguib Sawiris’ arrival to the DPRK. He also attended Kim Jong Il’s visit to the Kwangbok Supermarket, which was KJI’s last reported public appearance before his death in December 2011. In 1980, Ri Chol was selected by Jang and KJI to work as a local diplomatic contact in Geneva when KJI’s eldest son, Kim Jong Nam (Kim Cho’ng-nam), moved to Europe with his maternal relatives to study at the International School of Geneva. Promoted to ambassador in the late 1980s, Ri served in a similar capacity when KJI’s children with Ko Yong Hui (Ko Yo’ng-hu’i)–Kim Jong Chol (Kim Cho’ng-ch’o’l), Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng)–resided and attended school in Berne, Switzerland. According to some accounts, current DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Un dined with and spent some of his free time with Ri.