Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
updated 9 April 2011
Chi Chae-yong is DPRK Ambassador to China (PRC) and an alternate member of the Party Central Committee (CC KWP). He was appointed to the position in October 2010, while the DPRK and PRC commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) participation in the Fatherland Liberation [Korean] War in Pyongyang and Beijing, respectively.
Chi Chae-yong was born in 1940 in South Hamgyo’ng Province. He graduated from the social sciences program at Kim Il-so’ng University. Chi began his official career as Vice Chairman of the Kim Il-so’ng Youth League [KISYL]. In March 1973 he was elected chairman of the Korean Students’ Union [Korean Students’ Committee]. In his position at KISYL, Chi traveled outside the DPRK on numerous occasions, where he developed extensive contacts.
Chi led his first KISYL delegation on a trip to Nepal in 1973. In the same year he also led delegations on trips to Poland, Finland, Germany and Romania. In May 1973 he served on the reception committee for a group of Japanese Koreans visiting the DPRK. In 1974 Chi participated in a conference for Pan-African youth, held in Libya. In 1975 he led delegations on trips to Japan, Argentina, Iraq and Algeria.
In 1977 Chi Chae-yong was elected Chairman of the Kim Il-so’ng Youth League. He led delegations on visits to Algeria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Chi was a member of the Central Election Commission organized ahead of elections to the 6th Supreme People’s Assembly. Chi was first elected to the SPA in 1977 and was a member of its Presidium [Standing Committee]. In October 1978 Chi led a KISYL delegation on a visit to Moscow to commemorate the anniversary of the Soviet Socialist Youth League. In February 1979 Chi visited the PRC.
In January 1981, Chi Chae-yong was removed as KISYL Chairman and appointed a roving ambassador for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA], primarily in central and east Europe. In the 1980s Chi held diplomatic positions in the former Czechoslovakia and in former Yugoslavia. He returned to the DPRK in the early 1990s to work as a section chief the CC KWP International Department. In this position he made several visits to Europe and PRC. Chi was promoted to Deputy (Vice) Director of the CC KWP International Department in 1996.
In January 1998, Chi Chae-yong headed a delegation that traveled to the UK. This resulted in the Korea International Insurance Company opening a London branch office. Chi led another delegation on a February 2001 trip to France. From 2004 to 2007 Chi seemed inactive in either the party or government. He re-emerged in 2007 as a deputy director in the CC KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department.
Chi was elected an alternate [candidate] member of the Party Central Committe [CC KWP] during the 3rd Party Conference in September 2010.
On 26 October 2010 the PRC Foreign Ministry announced that Chi Chae-yong replaced Ch’oe P’yo’ng-kwan as DPRK Ambassador to the PRC.
“New DPRK ambassador arrives in China,” Xinhua, October 26, 2010
“N. Korea names senior party official as new envoy to China,” Kyodo News Agency, October 26, 2010
Yonhap News Agency. North Korea Handbook Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2003 pp. 618; 620