Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Gen. Jang Jong Nam has been appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, the DPRK’s defense minister. Gen. Jang, whose most recent position was commanding officer of the the forward-deployed I Army Corps, was identified as Minister when he attended a performance of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces’ Song and Dance Ensemble. He is the third person to be appointed Minister in the last year. He spoke at a loyalty rally of Korean People’s Army [KPA] service members and officers on the one year anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2012. Jang also spoke at a party-army solidarity rally in July 2011. He was promoted to Lieutenant General on late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday in April 2011.
Jang Jong Nam replaced Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, who was appointed in November 2012 and has served as Minister for approximately seven months. At the March 2013 meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee, he was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the KWP Political Bureau. One of Gen. Kim’s last observed appearances was his attendance of a May Day-themed concert of the U’nhasu Orchestra on or around 2 May 2013. Gen. Kim replaced VMar Kim Jong Gak, who was appointed Minister in April 2012 and served for seven months.