North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Gen. Pyon In Son

updated January 3, 2015

General Pyon In Son was director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff Operations Bureau from 2013 to 2014.  Gen. Pyon was responsible for the daily operational management of the DPRK’s service branches and corps units and supervised the formulation and implementation of the KPA’s training and contingency planning.  He is part of the 3rd generation of the DPRK’s military leadership.  He is a member of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee and deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA].

Early in his career, Pyon In Son primarily served in headquarters in the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces [MPAF].  He was promoted to Lieutenant General, via KPA Supreme Command decree #0088 on 13 April 1997 .  Pyon was assigned command of the VII Army Corps in South Hamgyo’ng Province.

He was promoted to Colonel General on 25 July 2003.  He was elected a deputy to the 11 Supreme People’s Assembly (representing district 655) in August 2003.  In 2007 he was appointed Vice Minister of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.  On 28 September 2010 Colonel General Pyon was elected to full membership on the CC KWP.  In November 2010 he led an MPAF delegation on a visit to China.

Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (L) meets the Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in Beijing in October 2010 (Photo: Xinhua)

In August 2011, Pyon was appointed commander of IV Army Corps in South Hwanghae Province.  He was observed accompanying Kim Jong Un on the latter’s inspection of IV Corps in February 2012.  In April 2013, Pyon left command of IV Corps to serve as Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.  Pyon was reported by DPRK state media to have attended several events marking the 60th anniversary of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War armistice.  In August 2013 he was appointed director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau, replacing Gen. Ri Yong Gil who was elevated to Chief of the KPA General Staff.  In March 2014 Pyon was promoted to 4-star General (taejang), although his effective promotion was not publicized in DPRK state media.

Pyon In Son was removed from office as Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau, effective November 2014.

Pyon In Son

Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau (2013-2014)

Member, Party Central Committee (CC KWP)

1997: Promoted, Lieutenant General

2000: (ca.) Commander, VII Army Corps

2003: Promoted, Colonel General

Deputy, 11th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA)

2007: Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces

2009: Deputy, 12th SPA

2010: Elected, Member, CC KWP

2011: Commander, IV Army Corps

2013: Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces

Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau

2014: Promoted, General

Removed from office Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau (November)


“China, DPRK Laud Traditional Friendship, Pledge Further Cooperation,” Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2010; “Decree on Promoting KPA Commanders,” Korean Central Broadcasting Station, April 13, 1997 (in Korean); “DPRK Leader Promotes Generals Near 50th Anniversary of ‘Victory’ in Korean War,” KCNA July 26, 2003; Zhou, Feng. “Ma Xiaotian Meets DPRK Military Delegation,” Jiefangjun Bao (in Chinese) October 15, 2010

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