North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Gen. Choe Pu Il


updated 27 September 2013

General Choe Pu Il is Minister of the People’s Security, the DPRK’s senior domestic law enforcement official.  Gen. Choe is also an alternate member of the KWP Political Bureau, Party Central Military Commission, KWP Central Committee, the DPRK National Defense Commission and a deputy (delegate) to the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.

Choe Pu Il attended Kim Il-song Military University.  He was commissioned into the KPA Naval Command (Korean People’s Navy) and spent the early portion of his career in the Korean People’s Army’s (KPA) Sports and Physical Culture Guidance Committee where, among other positions, he managed the 25 April Sports Group.  In this position he routinely interacted with the central leadership, including Kim Jong Il.

Choe Pu Il was promoted to Lieutenant General on 8 October 1995.  He has held positions as a brigade commander, chief of staff in an army corps and a corps commander.  A former basketball player, Choe was said to have formed an elite DPRK team that practiced and played with Kim Jong Il’s sons, Kim Jong Chol and Kim Jong Un

Choe was promoted to Colonel General in July 2006.  He was reported to have attended a reception at the PRC Embassy with KCI in March 2007 and KCI’s inspection of a KPA unit in November, 2007.  Choe was appointed Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff in February 2009.

Choe was promoted to General several hours ahead of the 3rd Party Conference and CC KWP September 2010 Plenary Meeting.  At these meetings, Choe was elected to full membership on the CC KWP and membership on the CMC.  On 10 October 2010 Choe led the military parade held to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party.  Gen. Choe served briefly as Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau and ex aequo 1st Chief of the KPA General Staff.  During 2012 he was reduced to Colonel-General (three star).

In February 2013 Choe was appointed Minister of the People’s Security.  On 31 March 2013, Choe Pu Il was elected as an alternate member of the KWP Political Bureau.  On 1 April 2013 Gen. Choe was elected a member of the National Defense Commission.  In June 2013 Choe Pu Il was restored to the rank of four-star General.  In September 2013 Choe led a DPRK delegation on an official visit to Mongolia.

According to DPRK state media, Choe Pu Il was born in March 1944 and joined the military September 1961.

Choe Pu Il

Minister of People’s Security

Member, National Defense Commission

Alternate Member, KWP Political Bureau

Member, Party Central Committee (CC KWP)

Member, Central Military Committee (CMC)


Kim Il-song Military University

Positions held

1990s: Manager 4.25 Sports Group, KPA Sports and Physical Culture Guidance Committee

1995: Promoted, Lieutenant General

2006: Promoted, Colonel General

2009: Vice Chief of GSD

2010: Promoted, General

Elected, Member, CC KWP

Elected, Member CMC

2012: Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau

2013: (February) Appointed Minister of People’s Security

(March) Elected, alternate member of the KWP Political Bureau

(April) Elected, Member of the National Defense Commission

See also:

“Kim Jong Il Promotes KPA Generals,” KCBS, October 8, 1995

“Kim Jong Il Inspects Sub-unit of Navy Unit 291,” KCBS, November 11, 2007

“Kim Jong Il Visits PRC Embassy on the Occasion of the Lunar New Year,” KCBS, March 4, 2007

“Report on Plenary Meeting of WPK Central Committee,” Korean Central News Agency, March 31, 2013

“Kim Jong Un Guides Plenary Meeting on 31 March,” Korean Central Broadcasting Station and Korean Central Television, March 31, 2013

“Seventh Session of 12th SPA of DPRK Held,” Korean Central News Agency, April 1, 2013

“Comrade Choe Pu Il, Alternate Member of the Political Bureau,” Rodong Sinmun (in Korean), April 1, 2013

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