Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
updated 16 March 2011
General Chu Sang-song is the immediate past Minister of People’s Security [MPS], as well as a former member of the National Defense Commission [NDC] and CC KWP Political Bureau. Gen. Chu also served as chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Legislation Committee. On 16 March 2011 the DPRK media reported that he was “dismissed from his post due to illness.”
Gen. Chu was the DPRK’s chief of domestic law enforcement, and participated with Chang So’ng-t’aek and Gen. U To’ng-chuk in the consolidation of command and control of the country’s internal security services. During his tenure at MPS he traveled overseas on several occasions and a primary player in joint DPRK-PRC border patrol management.
Chu Sang-song was born in Kangwo’n Province in 1933. He attended Kim Il-so’ng Military University. He was elected alternate [candidate] membership on the Party Central Committee [CC KWP] at the 5th Party Congress in 1970. Chu served as a brigade commander and division commander in the 1970s.
Chu was first elected a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly in 1990 (9th SPA), a position retains and was elected to full [regular] membership in the Party Central Committee at its 19th plenum (6th Term/6th CC) on 24 December 1991. He was promoted to Colonel General in April 1992 (a promotions’ class which included current KPA leaders Gens. Hyo’n Ch’o’l-hae (Director, NDC Standing Bureau) and Kim Myo’ng-kuk (Director, GSD Operations Bureau). He was ranked #87 on Kim Il-so’ng’s Funeral Committee in July 1994, and was a member of O Chin-u’s Funeral Committee in February 1995.
Chu Sang-song was promoted to General in February 1997 on Kim Cho’ng-il’s 55th Birthday. Gen. Chu assumed command of IV Army Corps in South Hwanghae Province. Gen. Ju was recalled to Pyongyang in late 2003 and replaced Choe Yong -s’u as Minister of Public [People’s] Security in July 2004.
Gen. Ju was elected to the National Defense Commission at the first plenum of the 12th SPA in April 2009, part of an expansion of the NDC’s membership from eight members to 12.
In 2009 and 2010 Gen. Chu attended several guidance visits and concerts with Kim Cho’ng-il. At a concert given by an MPS ensemble in late November 2009, Senior Vice Minister of State, U To’ng-chuk (who also joined the NDC in 2009) Gen. Chu and MPS political director, Col. Gen. Yi Pyo’ng-sam was seen on a documentary film receiving instructions from Kim Cho’ng-il.
In the spring of 2010 the Ministry of Public Security migrated away from the DPRK Cabinet and renamed the Ministry of People’s Security. The MPS political director became political director of the Korean People’s Internal Security Force. This represented the consolidation of the country’s law enforcement agency with the regime’s other internal security agencies.
When Chang So’ng-t’aek (who is responsible for MPS and SSD’s daily management) was promoted to NDC Vice Chairman in June 2010, it codified a clear channel of control and guidance from KCI as NDC Chairman to NDC Vice Chairman Chang to the NDC Members holding the internal security portfolio, Gens. Chu Sang-song and U To’ng-chuk.
In September 2010 Chu was re-elected as a member of the CC KWP and was elected a member of the CC KWP Political Bureau. Chu was also on the reviewing stand for the military parade held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the KWP in October 2010. Chu remained active at least several weeks ahead of his retirement. He was reported to have participated in several meetings and attended events during PRC Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu in February 2011.
Chu Sang-song’s last known appearance in the DPRK media was on around 26 February when he was reported to have attended a performance of the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, together with Kim Cho’ng-il at the Ponghwa Art Theater in Pyongyang. On 16 March 2011 KCNA reported, “Ju Sang Song, minister of People’s Security of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, was dismissed from his post due to illness.”
Gen. Ju Sang Song
Member, National Defense Commission
Minister of People’s Security
Member, Party Central Committee
1970: Elected Candidate Member, CC KWP
1990: Deputy, 9th SPA
1991: Elected, Member, CCKWP
1992: Promoted, Colonel General, KPA
1994: Member, Kim il Sung Funeral Committee
1995: Member, O Jin U Funeral Committee
1997: Promoted, General, KPA
Assigned command, IV Army Corps
1998: Deputy, 10th SPA
2003: Deputy, 11th SPA
2004: Appointed, Minister of Public Security
2009: Deputy, 12th SPA
Member, National Defense Commission
2010: Title changed to Minister of People’s Security
Elected, Member, CC KWP Political Bureau
2011: “Dismissed” from position because of health problem
Gause, Ken E. North Korean Civil-Military Trends: Military-First Politics to a Point. (Carlisle, PA: USAWC Strategic Studies Institute, September 2006) pp. 23; 37; 61.
“Profile of Newly Appointed DPRK Minister of People’s Security,” Vantage Point (Seoul: August 2004)
Yonhap News Agency. The North Korea Handbook (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe , 2003) p. 812