North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

New Vice Director at United Front Department

Unnamed sources have informed Yonhap that United Front Department Director Kim Yang-gon has a new deputy director.  During October,  Won Tong-yon was promoted concurrently to deputy director of the United Front Department and Vice Chair of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee [Kim Yang-gon is Chair of KAPPC].  Previously Mr. Won was a bureau chief for both the department and committee, which are tasked with the neverending North-South talks (of which Mr. Won has been a participant for twenty years) and exchanges between the two Koreas.  According to one of Yonhap’s sources,  Mr. Won traveled with Mr. Kim to Beijing last month where the United Front/KAPPC officials may or may not have met with ROK representitives.  Mr. Won was also a member of the DPRK’s delegation to Seoul for the funeral of the late ROK President Kim Dae-jung.

One of Yonhap’s sources also notes the influence of Jang Song-thaek in Mr. Won’s promotion.  Won Tong-yon befriended Jang Song-thaek when the latter (unofficially) led a 2002 economic study tour to ROK, and his promotion might be seen in the context of Mr. Jang’s rising star.



This article was written on 17 Nov 2009, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, Inter-Korean Relations, Jang Song-thaek, United Front Department.

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