Some left but some stay: a quick review of the election to the SPA

Analyzing the list of people who were chosen at the new SPA (Supreme People Assembly of North Korea) election, we can notice that as usually the same people were chosen as in previous elections except some little changes. It would be a great challenge to analyze each person chosen to the SPA, therefore I would like to provide some information concerning only a minor part of these people.

The Jang dream team

Some people associated to Jang Sung Thaek (the uncle of Kim Jong Eun who was executed in December 2013) were chosen to the SPA session including:

Ri Chol – the former tutor of Kim Jong Eun – who was supposedly dead…according to South Korean newspapers.

Ji Jae Ryong – the DPRK ambassador to China- was also chosen. Ji Jae Ryong is considered as a former friend of Jang Sung Thaek. Jang Sung Thaek was responsible for his nomination as an ambassador of the DPRK to the former Yugoslavia in the 80’s.

Ri Kwang Gun – a NK technocrat who worked in Germany and Bangladesh – was also reelected. He was responsible for some of the business of the Jang family. Maybe some of them had betrayed Jang ? That’s also a possibility which may explain that they are still alive (I personally do believe that the reality is more complicated).

Interestingly Mun Kyong Dok (the head of the KWP in Pyongyang and a jovial friend of Jang Sung Thaek) was not elected.

Other nominations

Long-term associates of Kim Jong Il were reelected. This was done in order to maintain the Pact of Stability between Kim Jong Eun and the DPRK leadership. Among them we can quote:

Ri Ul Sol, Yang Hong Sop,  Jo Yon Jun, O Kuk Ryol, Kim Yong Ju (Kim Jong Eun uncle and Kim Il Sung brother), Kim Kyok Shik, Ju Kyu Jang, Kim Yong Dae, Kim Yong Nam, Kang Sok Ju, Ro Tu Chol, Pyong In Son, Choe Pu Il, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Hwi, Ma Won Chun, Jon Yon Jon, Kim Kye Kwan, An Kum Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Yong Chun, Sim Chol Ho, O Il Jong, Hwang Pyong So, Ri Kil Song (the former procurator of the DPRK, a 90 years old politician), Kim Wan Su, Kim Ki Nam, Pak Ui Chun, O Kum Chol, Thae Jong Su, O Su Yong (one of my favorite politician in terms of influence over the DPRK)…and many others

Own conclusions

The family of Kim Jong Eun is not fully visible in the list of SPA delegates. Kim Jong Eun was selected at the 111 place (is it not sweet ?), Kim Jong Nam, an enemy of Kim Jong Eun and a half-brother of the leader, was not chosen. He’s supposedly under the protection of the Chinese police. How long ? We do not know.

Rencontre entre les autorités judiciaires de la Corée du Nord et de la Chine

Une délégation judiciaire de la RPDC s’est rendue en Chine afin de discuter des relations dans le cadre du traitement de certains réfugiés nord-coréens. L’importance de la visite est à souligner par la présence de Hu Zejun, procurateur général et femme influente de la politique en Chine. Chose intéressante : dans le cadre de la délégation fut présent un certain Ri Chol (a ne pas confondre avec un autre Ri Chol le numéro 1 en terme d’influence sur Kim Jong Eun) qui est lieutenant dans l’APC. Lors de cette visite fut aussi présent ambassadeur nord-coréen en Chine Ji Jae Ryong : un proche collaborateur de Jang Song Thaek (directeur administratif au sein du PTC et co-tuteur de Kim Jong Eun)

pobraneHu Zejun

Information extraite de l’agence de presse nord-coréenne KCNA :

DPRK, China Sign MOU on Cooperation between Prosecutors Offices

Pyongyang, November 5 (KCNA) — A MOU on cooperation between the DPRK Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China was signed in Beijing.
It was inked by Ri Chol, first vice director of the DPRK office, and Hu Zejun, executive deputy chief procurator of the Chinese procuratorate.

Biographies d’ambassadeurs nord-coréens (주재 북한대사 -지재룡/김평일 )

A la page « les ambassadeurs nord-coréens » vous trouverez les biographies de Ji Jae Ryong (ambassadeur de la Corée du Nord en Chine) et de Kim Pyong Il (ambassadeur de la Corée du Nord en Pologne). Ces documents sont librement téléchargeables ici. Continue reading “Biographies d’ambassadeurs nord-coréens (주재 북한대사 -지재룡/김평일 )”

Choe Ryong Hae en visite à la Zone Economique Technologique de Pékin

Choe Ryong Hae, le directeur du BP de l’APC (encerclé en rouge sur l’illustration) a continué sa visite à Pékin ou il s’est rendu en autre à la Zone Economique de Pékin. A noter la présence de Ji Jae Ryong, l’ambassadeur nord-coréen en Chine (encerclé en vert sur l’illustration). Un sujet rarement évoqué reste le rôle des entités militaires dans l’économie nord-coréenne. Des informations à ce sujet peuvent être trouves sur le site.


Source de l’illustration : Rodong Sinmun

Jang Song Thaek and family (장성택의 가족): could they improve the life of North Koreans ?

My first column for New Focus International, a website focused on North-Korean issues. The text is dealing with the Jang Song Thaek’s family (장성택의 가족)

Jang Song Thaek and family: can these elites improve the life of North Koreans?

Jang Song Thaek is an advisor to Kim Jong Il and probably the second most powerful person in North Korea. It is interesting to see that members of his family also hold important positions. This concerns not only those who are alive, but also those who are deceased. Unlike Jang, who was a civilian officer of the Korean Workers Party – although now a general of the North Korean Army – his older brothers (Jang Sung U, Jang Sung Hyeol, Jang Sung Kil, Jang Sung Seop and Jang Sung Ho) made their career in the North Korean Army.



One of the nephews of Jang Song Thaek is Jang Yong Chol, whose father was the late Jang Song U. He is the current ambassador of the DPRK in Malaysia. It is also interesting to note that he was a former officer of the North Korean army. His career in the army was enabled by the support of his father. According to some sources, he is a one-star general. Jang Yong Chol also had a career in the Kim Il Sung Youth League, where he cooperated with Ji Jae Ryong (the current North Korean ambassador to China) and Choe Ryong Hae (the head of the political bureau of the North-Korean Army). Jang Yong Chol’s brother is an officer in a North-Korean trading company.

A son-in-law of Jang Song Thaek, Jeon Yong Jin, is the current ambassador of North Korea to Cuba.  He was previously Vice Chairman of the DPRK Foreign Culture Liaison Committee. Jeon Yong Jin’s father is Jeon Hee Jeong, a close advisor to the Kim family on foreign affairs and a member of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party. Jeon Hee Jeong is said to hold a position in the Personal Secretariat of Kim Jong Eun. It should be noted that Jeon Yong Jin was a tutor of economics to the son of Jang Song Thaek: Jang Song Kim. Both of them lived in Sweden. His role should be compared to Ri Chol, the former ambassador of North Korea to Switzerland, who educated Kim Jong Eun (the current leader of North Korea) in economic matters. Jeon Yong Jin is also a trusted advisor of Ri Ryong Nam, the minister of foreign trade of the DPRK.

These elements indicate to us that Jang Song Thaek and his relatives have great knowledge about international economics. Most of them have lived or currently live abroad, and also manage foreign currency businesses. In my humble opinion, I believe that they are key-decision makers with regard to large-scale economical projects that involve North Korea. In this regard, it was not a surprise to see Naguib Sawiris, the CEO of Orascom, with Kim Jong Il and Jang Song Thaek in January 2011.

Another important conclusion may be drawn: in a new North Korea, we could imagine the relatives of Jang Song Thaek controlling the economic direction of the country. Who knows ? They may be the key figures who will introduce dramatic changes into the North Korean economy. Some of Jang Song Thaek’s brothers who served in the army also lead North Korean companies trading under military auspices.