North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Col. Gen. Kim Hyong Ryong

Colonel-General Kim Hyong Ryong greets personnel of the DPRK Embassy in Russia in February 2018 (Photo: Russian Embassy in the DPRK).

updated 22 February 2018

Colonel General Kim Hyong Ryong (Kim Hyo’ng-ryong) is Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, a deputy defense ministerial position.  He is a long time ground corps commander and a member of the 3rd generation of the DPRK’s influential elite.  He is also a member of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee and a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA].

Kim Hyong Ryong has held both headquarters and command positions in the KPA.  He was promoted to Major General in 1992 and became bureau chief of the KPA General Staff’s Communications Bureau.  He was promoted to Lieutenant General in October 1995 and first elected a deputy (delegate) to the SPA in 1998.

Colonel-General Kim Hyong Ryong speaks at an event hosted by the Russian defense attache in February 2018 (Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the DPRK).

In 2001 Kim was assigned command of the 815th Mechanized Corps.  He was promoted to Colonel General in July 2003. Subsequently, during the same year, he was assigned command of IX Army Corps in North Hamgyo’ng Province.

Around 2007 Col. Gen. Kim was assigned command of the II Army Corps, although it is likely he served in a headquarters position before cycling to his next command position.  He was elected a full (regular) member of the Party Central Committee in September 2010.  In 2015 he was removed from command at II Corps and rotated back to command of the IX Corps.

In 2017 he became Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.

Col. Gen. Kim Hyong Ryong

Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces

Member, WPK Central Committee


1992: Promoted, Major General

Director, Communication Bureau, KPA General Staff

1995: Member, O Jin U Funeral Committee

Promoted, Lieutenant General

1998: Deputy, 10th Supreme People’s Assembly

2000: Commanding Officer, 815th Mechanized Corps

2003: Promoted, Colonel-General

Commanding Officer, IX Army Corps

2007: Commanding Officer, II Army Corps

2009: Deputy, 12th SPA

2010: Member, 6th WPK Central Committee

Member, Jo Myong Rok Funeral Commitee

2011: Member, Kim Jong Il Funeral Committee

2014: Deputy, 13th SPA

2015: Commander, IX Corps

Member, Ri Ul Sol Funeral Committee

2016: Elected, Member, 7th WPK Central Committee

2017: Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces


Yonhap News Agency.  North Korea Handbook (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2003) pp.839-40

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