North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kang Sok Ju (1939-2016)

Kang Sok Ju (annotated) visits a Pyongyang shop with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il during August 2009 (NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Kang Sok Ju (annotated) visits a Pyongyang shop with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il during August 2009 (NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee Member and Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] deputy (delegate) Kang Sok Ju passed away in Pyongyang from cancer on the afternoon of May 20 (Friday).  According to DPRK sources, Kang had been receiving medical treatment and had several lengthy stays at the Ponghwa Clinic since early 2015.  Kang was a major figure in DPRK foreign policy and diplomacy for the last three decades, serving as WPK Secretary and Director of International Affairs from 2014 to 2016, DPRK Vice Premier from 2010 to 2014 and from 1987 to 2010 as 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Kang negotiated the Agreed Framework during the 1990s and was regular high-level interlocutor with the US, Japan, ROK and China.  Kang’s last observed public appearances were during June and July 2015 when he led a delegation on visits to Russia and Cuba.

Kang Sok Ju shakes hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro in Havana in June 2015 (Photo: Granma)

Kang Sok Ju shakes hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro in Havana in June 2015 (Photo: Granma)

 

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