Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
The DPRK’s leading official in the production of conventional and advanced weapons has reappeared following a four-month absence from state media. Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and National Defense Commission [NDC] Member Pak To Chun attended the Worker-Peasant Red Guard parade and Pyongyangites’ demonstration held in Pyongyang on 9 September (Monday) to mark the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation. During the parade Pak stood on the parade review platform with other VIPs, standing between KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok and Honorary Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium Vice President Choe Yong Rim. Pak’s last observed appearance occurred in early May, when he attended sports competitions between workers in the public health sector. Pak’s absence from the DPRK’s political culture was especially noticeable when he did not attend Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) tour of Jagang Province, where Pak was an influential KWP official and industrial manager. When Pak failed to attend a number of events to mark the end of the active hostilities of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War in July, he was presumed to have been removed from office. A number of reasons for Pak’s disappearance or possible dismissal were given, including the failure of a possible test launch of the Mususan intermediate range ballistic missile and allegations of corruption. Pak To Chun’s disappearance from state media might be correlated to the rise and fall of Gen. Kim Kyok Sik. Gen. Kim was appointed Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff around the same time Pak disappeared. Pak only re-emerged in DPRK public life after Gen. Kim Kyok Sik was removed as chief of the general staff.