North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ri Man Gon

Ri Man Gon (tagged, right) with Kim Jong Il in 2011 (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Ri Man Gon (tagged, right) with Kim Jong Il in 2011 (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

updated July 13, 2016

Ri Man Gon is a Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] and director of the WPK Munitions Building Industry Department.  Ri is the DPRK’s leading official in the manufacturing, research and development of the country’s conventional arms, WMDs and space programs.  He is also a Member of the State Affairs Commission, Member of the WPK Political Bureau, a Member of the WPK Executive Policy Council, a Member of the WPK Central Military Commission, a Member of the WPK Central Committee and a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly.

Ri has held a series of positions as instructor, guidance cadre and section chief in the WPK Organization Guidance Department.  Around 2007, he was appointed a deputy director of the WPK Organization Guidance Deparment.  On September 28, 2010, Ri was elected a member of the WPK Central Committee during the 3rd Party Conference.  On October 9, 2010 Ri Man Gon was identified as the Chief Secretary of the North P’yo’ngan WPK Committee when attended a WPK Central Committee hosted for a visiting PRC delegation led by former senior official Zhou Yangkang.  Ri accompanied late DPRK Kim Jong Il around Ch’angso’ng County, North P’yo’ngan, on November 16, 2010.  He also accompanied KJI during an on-the-spot guidance tour of the Kujang Fish Farm in May 2011 which doubled as a gathering for a high number of members of the core leadership and DPRK senior officials.

He spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony for the DPRK-China Hwangu’mp’yo’ng-Wihwa Island Economic Zone project in June 2011.  In North P’yo’ngan, Ri supervised the renovations and technological upgrades at several industrial production units, including factories contributing component materiel and component parts to the DPRK’s missiles and nuclear weapons.  Ri attended a dozen on-site visits and inspections with Kim Jong Un during 2012 to 2014.  Ri has emerged as a leading public face of the Kim Jong Un Era and spoke at a number of political meetings and national events, including at the enlarged meeting of the WPK Political Bureau on December 9, 2013 which dismissed Jang Song T’aek and expelled Jang from the WPK.

Ri Man Gon at a tour of a Sinu'iju Measuring Instrument Factory in 2015

Ri Man Gon at a tour of a Sinu’iju Measuring Instrument Factory in 2015

Ri Man Gon was elected a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly in March 2014.  He was appointed Director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department in late November 2015.  Ri had a key management role in the DPRK’s January 2016 nuclear weapons test and its February 2016 space launch.  Ri also managed a series of missile tests during the spring and summer of 2016 and attended missile tests and other inspections with Kim Jong Un from March to June 2016.

During the 7th Congress of the WPK (7th Party Congress), Ri was formally appointed director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department and was elected a WPK Vice Chairman.  Ri was also part of the reorganization of, and became a member of, the WPK Central Military Commission.  Ri was also elected a Member of the WPK Central Committee and Member of the WPK Executive Policy Council (Bureau).

On June 29, 2016, at the 4th session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly Ri Man Gon was appointed to the newly-established State Affairs Commission, the DPRK’s supreme power organization.

According to his passport records, Ri Man Gon was born in 1945.

Ri Man Gon

WPK Vice Chairman and Director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department

Member, WPK Political Bureau

Member, WPK Central Military Commission

Member, WPK Central Committee

Deputy, Supreme People’s Assembly

2007 (ca.): appointed, deputy director, WPK Organization Guidance Department

2010: (September) Elected, Member, 6th WPK Central Committee

(September) Appointed, Chief Secretary, North P’yo’ngan WPK Provincial Committee

(November) Member, Jo Myong Rok Funeral Committee

2011: (December) Member, Kim Jong Il Funeral Committee

2013: (December) Member, Kim Kuk T’ae Funeral Committee

2014: (March) Elected, deputy, 13th Supreme People’s Assembly

(July) Member, Jon Pyong Ho Funeral Committee

2015: (November) Member, Ri Ul Sol Funeral Committee

(December) (ca.) Appointed, Director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department

(December) Member, Kim Yang Gon Funeral Committee

2016: (May) Elected, Member, 7th WPK Central Committee

Elected, Member, WPK Political Bureau

Elected, Member, WPK Executive Policy Council

Elected, Member, WPK Central Military Commission

Appointed, Director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department

(May) Member, Kang Sok Ju Funeral Committee

(June) Member, State Affairs Commission

See also, “Ri Man Gon and OGD Nuclear Illuminati” by Michael Madden, US Korea Institute/NK Leadership Watch, January 2016

Interview data acquired by Michael Madden 2011-2016; “Members, Alternate Members, WPK CC,” Korean Central News Agency, September 28, 2010; “Reception Given for CPC Delegation,” Korean Central Broadcasting Station (in Korean), October 9, 2010; “WPK CC Gives Reception for CPC Delegation,” Korean Central News Agency, October 9, 2010; “Kim Jong Il Guides Plants in Ch’angso’ng County,” Korean Central Broadcasting Station (in Korean), November 17, 2010; “Kim Jong Il Visits Kujang Fish Farm,” Korean Central Boradcasting Station (in Korean), May 12, 2011; “DPRK, PRC Hold Ground-breaking for Projects in Islands, Naso’n,” Korean Central News Agency, June 9, 2011; “Enlarged Meeting of the Political Bureau of the WPK, CC, Held,” Korean Central Television (in Korean), December 9, 2013; “State Funeral Committee  for Ri Ul Sol,” Rodong Sinmun (in Korean), November 9, 2015; “State Funeral Committee for Kim Yang Gon,” Rodong Sinmun (in Korean), December 30, 2015; “Fourth and Final Day of the 7th Party Congress,” NK Leadership Watch, May 10, 2016; “WPK Central Committee and WPK Central Auditing Commission Meet,” NK Leadership Watch, May 10, 2016; “State Funeral Committee for Kang Sok Ju,” Rodong Sinmun (in Korean), May 21, 2016; “The Fourth Session of the 12th SPA: Tweaks at the Top,” by Michael Madden, 38 North, July 6, 2016

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