North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

VMAR Pak Ki-so Dies

VMAR Pak Ki-so passed away at the age of eighty (80).  At the time of his death VMAR Pak was retired from political life, although he was still a member of the KWP Central Committee and the Central Military Committee.  He was one of Kim Jong-il’s core KPA supporters during General-Secretary Kim’s succession drive, a human link between First and Second Generation KPA commanders.  VMAR Pak was a member of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Supreme People’s Assemblies, elected an Alternate Member of the KWP Central Committee in 1970 and a regular Central Committee member in 1986.  He commanded the 820th Tank Corps and promoted to KPA General in April, 1992.  In March 1995 he was promoted to KPA Vice Marshal, appointed to the KWP Central Military Committee and became commanding officer of the Pyongyang Defense Corps.  He served as commander of the PDC until 2003.  VMAR Pak’s last public appearance was in March, 2009, when he joined other senior members of the KPA command in voting for Kim Jong-il in elections for the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.

VMAR Pak had not been involved in North Korean political life in the four years prior to his death.  Taken with Ri Chol-bong’s passing nearly two weeks ago, this leaves two vacancies on the (plus or minus) 140-member KWP Central Committee.  VMAR Pak’s death also opens up a vacancy on the KWP Central Military Committee, although it remains to be seen whether that vacancy will be filled and the CMC remains an active body.  He is also the second KPA Vice Marshal to have died in the last four months (VMAR Jang Song-u died in August).  If a succession campaign is under way in the DPRK, these are all prestigious posts and promotions that Kim Jong-il can give to potential Kim Jong-un supporters.


This article was written on 07 Jan 2010, and is filled under Central Committee, Central Military Committee, Kim Jong-il, Korean People's Army (KPA).

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