North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ri Yong Chol Dies

Ri Yong Chol (1st from R) receiving instructions from KJI in 2005 (Photo: KCNA)

One of Kim Jong Il’s key personnel managers and a member of the Party’s Central Military Committee, Ri Yong Chol has passed away.  Ri was a senior deputy director at the Organization and Guidance Department and escorted KJI on guidance tours.  He managed KPA personnel affairs in OGD for KJI.  Ri Yong Chol appeared last week attending a reception for a visiting Iranian delegation. He is not the Ri Yong Chol who is the 1st Secretary of the Kim Il Sung Youth League.

Chosun Ilbo citing an official statement reports

“Comrade Ri died at the age of 81 at 12:20 a.m. on Monday due to a heart attack,” said a statement by the Central Committee, Military Committee and the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly.

When North Korea leader Kim Jong-il was being groomed to assume the leadership of North Korea, he consolidated his grip on power through the Organizational Committee and presently serves as its head. Ri is believed to have won the full trust of Kim with his reserved and meticulous style. He used to accompany Kim on many field visits but dropped out of view recently due to failing health.

KCNA reports that Kim Jong Il had his custom floral wreath delivered:

General Secretary Kim Jong Il sent a wreath before the bier of Ri Yong Chol, member of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, member of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, deputy to the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly and first vice-director of a department of the Party Central Committee, expressing deep condolences over his death on Monday.

An affiliate of 38 North