Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
updated April 10, 2016
Hong Song Mu (Hong Su’ng-mu) is deputy (vice) director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Machine-Building Industry Department [MID]. He is key manager of the DPRK’s advanced weapons program, directly subordinate to KWP MID Director Ju Kyu Chang and KWP Secretary Pak To Chun. Hong is also an alternate member of the KWP Central Committee and a member of the Second Economy Commission.
Hong is from the production and manufacturing side of the country’s military and munitions industries. He is the former chief engineer of the 5 MgWT experimental reactor at Nyo’ngbyo’n Atomic Research Center. Due to the sensitive nature of his work, Hong’s name seldom appears in state media reporting. In December 2011 Hong was ranked #126 on the national funeral committee formed after the death of supreme leader Kim Jong Il.
Hong appeared accompanying Kim Jong Un on May Day 2012 at the Taegwan Glass Factory in North P’yo’ngan Province. On or around 14 December 2012, Hong joined Kim Jong Un on a congratulatory visit to the Sohae Space Center, following the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket. On 27 January 2013, Hong attended a meeting of foreign affairs and security officials convened by Kim Jong Il following the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolutioin #2087 (2013) in response to the December 2012 rocket launch.
Hong is a working level official managing reporting channels and policy execution from the party center (KJU and KWP Secretary Pak To Chun) to factories, test facilities and component part and natural resources production sites. Hong had an instrumental role in the DPRK’s two 2012 rocket launches. He was a key manager of the country’s third nuclear experimental detonation in February 2012 and the third nuclear test in January 2016.
During the 7th Party Congress, Hong Sung Mu was elected alternate member on the WPK Central Committee
“Members and Alternates of the Cental Committee, WPK,” Korean Central News Agency, September 28, 2010; “National Funeral Committee Formed,” Korean Central News Agency,December 19, 2011; “Kim Jong Un Visits Factories to Congratulate Workers on May Day,” Korean Central News Agency, May 1, 2012; “Kim Jong Un Visits Sohae Space Center To Congratulate Scientists, Technicians” Korean Central News Agency, December 14, 2012; “Hong Su’ng-mu, Who Attended North Korea’s ‘Consultative Meeting’ Is Vice Director of the Party, Machine-Building Industry Department,” Yonhap News Agency in Korean, January 28, 2013; “Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy: What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Alexandre Mansourov, NAPSNet Special Reports, December 16, 2014