North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Yong Il, DPRK Premier (2007-2010)

Kim Yong Il served as DPRK Premier from April 2007 to June 2010.  For most of his career he was a manager in the country’s transportation ministry.  Kim reportedly made a public apology for the DPRK economy in early 2010.

Kim Yong Il was born in 1944 and attended the Rajin University of Marine Transport.  He worked in the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport.  He began his career supervising student construction brigades.  He rose successively in the ministry’s management in the 1980s.

Kim was elected to the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly in 1998 and appointed Minister of Land and Marine Transport.  He supervised the renovation of the Ryongnam Ship Repair Facility in Nampo, one of his accomplishments as minister.  He was reappointed minister at the 11th SPA in September 2003.

In April 2007 Kim Yong Il was appointed DPRK Premier.  He participated in numerous interactions with foreign officials, and made several excursions abroad.  Kim was observed conducting members of the PRC leadership during Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pyongyang in 2009.

In February 2010 Kim Yong Il was summoned to attend Kim Jong Il’s guidance tour of the 8 February Vinalon Complex in Hamhung, South Hamgyong.  It is highly likely he was informed that he would be replaced as Premier.  Kim Yong Il also reportedly issued an apology to a Pyongyang meeting of local government (People’s Committee) officials on economic conditions in the DPRK’s rural areas.

Kim Kyong-hui (4th from left) and DPRK Premier Kim Yong-il (3rd from right) in a commemorative photo at the 8 February Vinalon Complex (Photo KCNA )

Kim Yong Il was recalled as Premier at the 3rd plenum of the 12th SPA in June 2010, and replaced by Choe Yong Rim.  He is currently believed to work as a port manager in Chongjin.


1981: Chief, Youth Construction Brigade, Maritime Affairs Department, Capital City Construction Department

1995: Director, Maritime Affairs Department, Capital City Construction

1998: Deputy, 10th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA)

Appointed, Minister of Land and Marine Transportation

2003: Deputy, 11th SPA

Re-appointed, Minister of Land and Marine Transportation

2007: (April) Appointed, Premier, DPRK

2009: Deputy, 12th SPA

Re-appointed Premiere, DPRK

2010: Recalled as Premier

Manager, Port of Chongjin, North Hamgyong

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