North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Titles of Marshal and Vice Marshal Given to Close KJI Adjutants

Ri Myong Su [a], Hyon Chol Hae [b] and Kim Yong Chun [c] with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on a field inspection in December 1996 (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Ri Myong Su [a], Hyon Chol Hae [b] and Kim Yong Chun [c] with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on a field inspection in December 1996 (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

The title of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Marshal (inminguk wo’nsu) was awarded to Kim Yong Chun and Hyon Chol Hae, and the title of KPA Vice Marshal (ch’asu) was awarded to Ri Myong Su, according to a joint decision issued by the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee, the WPK Central Military Commission and the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] published on April 14 (Thursday).

Kim Yong Chun served as NDC Vice Chairman, Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Chief of the KPA General Staff and his last position was as director of the WPK Civil Defense Department.  Hyon Chol Hae served as deputy director of the KPA General Political Department, head of the KPA Organization Department, director of the NDC Presidium, Director of the KPA General Logistics Department and his last position was as 1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.  Ri Myong Su currently serves as the Chief of the KPA General Staff.  All three were close aides and advisors to late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), with Kim Yong Chun having very close and personal ties to KJI as a dining companion and regular member of the late leader’s hunting parties.

According to KCNA, the honorees “have made great contributions to thoroughly establishing the party’s monolithic commanding system in the KPA and strengthening the revolutionary armed forces into the army of the party and the leader by remaining faithful to the party’s So’ngun (military-first) revolutionary leadership while working at the important posts of the KPA for a long period under the special trust and love of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il.”

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