North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Hong Il-ch’o’n (Hong Il Chon)

Hong Il-ch’o’n is a rector and immediate past president of Kim Hyo’ng-chik (Kim Kyong Jik) University of Education.  She is also Kim Jong Il’s (Kim Cho’ng-il) first wife and mother of his eldest child, daughter Kim Hye-kyo’ng.

Hong was born in 1942.  She was one of Kim Cho’ng-il’s classmates in the Political Economy Department at Kim Il Sung University.  According to several sources, Kim Cho’ng-il was married to Hong from 1966 to 1969.  She gave birth to Hye-kyo’ng in 1968.

Hong has held a number of positions in the DPRK’s Education Commission, including serving in the 1970s and 1980s as deputy director of its elementary education section.  She has traveled outside the country on several occasions heading or participating in delegations visiting foreign countries, including attendance at UN events.  Hong has also served as a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA).  In the 1980s she was successively Vice President and President of KHJ University.

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