North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Kye Gwan

Kim Kye Gwan is Senior Vice (1st Deputy) Minister of Foreign Affairs, and 2nd Generation DPRK elite.  He is well known to external Pyongyang watchers as the country’s chief nuclear negotiator, as well as holding a leading role in managing the DPRK’s interactions with the United States.  Kim has ties to Kim Jong Il and Kim Kyong Hui.

Kim Kye Gwan was born in 1943 in North Hamgyong.  He graduated from the University of International Studies, and also studied French in Algeria in the 1960s.  He held the title of secretary the DPRK’s embassy in Algeria in the early 1970s.  Kim returned to Pyongyang in 1975 and became a department director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From1989 to 1991 Kim Kye Gwan was assigned as a DPRK Ambassador-a-Large.  In 1991 Kim was assigned as diplomatic general counsel at MOFA.  He was made Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1995.  Kim Kye Gwan was promoted to Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Kang Sok Ju, on September 23, 2010.

Kim Kye Gwan has managed DPRK nuclear negotiations, as well as the country’s interactions with the United States.  Kim greeted former US President Bill Clinton in August 2009, and former US President Jimmy Carter in August 2010, during their respective arrivals at Pyongyang’s airport.

Kim was part of a group of highly educated foreign affairs officials appointed the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs in the 1970s.  Their appointments were made by Kim Jong Il, in coordination with Kim Kyong Hui (as a deputy director of the party’s International Department) and Jang Song Taek.

On 28 September 2010 Kim Kye Gwan was elected an alternate member on the Party Central Committee (CC KWP).

Kim Kye Gwan

Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

1973: Secretary, DPRK Embassy, Algeria

1975: Department director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1985: Used the title “Specialist” in MOFA’s International Organizations Bureau

1989: Sued the title DPRK Ambassador at Large

1991: Councilor, MOFA

1995: Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

2010: Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Elected, Alternate Member, CC KWP

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