Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Jo Chun Ryong (Cho Chun-ryo’ng) is a member of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] and Chairman of the Second Economy Commission (Second Economic Committee), which is responsible for the production of conventional and advanced weapons. He is also a deputy (delegate) to the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA].
Jo’s primary career experience has been as a manager in the country’s munitions and machine-building industry and eventually rose the position of director of a munitions factory. In late 2013 or early 2014, Jo was appointed Chairman of the Second Economy Commission, which manages the network of hundreds of factories involved in manufacturing and production in the DPRK’s conventional weapons, WMD and space programs. Jo formally replaced Paek Se Bong, who served as SEC Chairman for over ten years. Jo Chun Ryong was later elected a deputy (delegate) of the 13th SPA.
Jo Chun Ryong is based in Kangdong, Pyongyang and occasionally accompanies Kim Jong Un during on-site visits and field inspections. Like his predecessors, Jo’s presence in DPRK political culture is known in the few occasions in which he is a platform member at central report meetings and national meetings. Jo Chun Ryong has been a member of the state funeral committees for Jon Pyong Ho in 2014 and Ri Ul Sol in November 2015.
Notes: Interview data acquired by Michael Madden; “Jo Chun-ryong appears out of the blue, while Kim Kyong-hui disappears,” by Yi Ji-seon, Kyunghyang Shimun, April 11, 2014; “The DPRK Political Season: Two Post-Mortems,” by Michael Madden, 38 North, April 23, 2014; “The Passing of the Nuclear Torch: The Next Generation of WMD Scientists” by Michael Madden, 38 North, September 22, 2014; “Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy: What Everyone Needs to Know,” by Alexandre Mansourov, NAPSNet Special Reports, December 16, 2014