North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

DPRK Gets a New Police Boss

Ri Thae Sop (left) with KJU and Pak Jong Chon (2nd left) at an August 2020 gifts ceremony for senior internal security personnel and corps commanders (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Colonel-General Ri Thae Sop (Ri T’ae-sop) was appointed Minister of Social Security (f.k.a., Minister of People’s Security; f.k.a., Minister of Public Security) during December 2021. His appointment was publicized on 1 January (Saturday) at the conclusion of the 4th plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] 8th Central Committee when Ri was elected an alternate (candidate) members of the Political Bureau.  The Social Security Ministry, by both personnel numbers and missions, is the largest of North Korea’s three internal security services and is the country’s law enforcement and public safety organization.

DPRK Minister of Social Security Ri Thae Sop (Photo: KCNA/Yonhap).

Col. Gen. Ri’s last position was as commander of the forward-deployed V Corps.  Prior to that, Ri was commander of the VII Corps, headquartered in South Hamgyo’ng.  He replaces Jang Jong Nam (Chang Cho’ng-nam) who was appointed Minister during the summer (August or September) of 2021.  Ri Thae Sop is the fourth individual (Kim Cho’ng-ho–>Ri Yo’ng-gil–>Chang Cho’ng-nam–>Ri T’ae-sop) to hold the Minister’s job during the last two years and the third Minister appointed in 2021.

 

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