North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Choe Son-hui (Ch’oe So’n-hu’i)

Choe Son Hui with the Russian Ambassador to the DPRK

updated March 7, 2018

Choe Son Hui (Ch’oe So’n-hu’i) is a Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.  She has served as an aide and interpreter at the Six Party Talks, and other high level DPRK foreign interactions including an August 2009 trip to Pyongyang by former US President Bill Clinton.

Choe Son-hui was born in 1964 in the DPRK.  She is the adopted daughter of the current DPRK Premier, Choe Yong Rim.  She was educated in the DPRK and has also studied in China, Austria and Malta.  Choe has worked as a researcher and English language interpreter at the Foreign Ministry.  She has been observed attending several meetings in support of chief DPRK nuclear negotiator and current Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Kye-gwan.  Choe speaks and reads English fluently.

Choe has held a series of successive positions as section chief, deputy director and deputy director-general in the American Affairs (North American Affairs) Bureau.  She attended meetings in Beijing with Kim in October 2010 and is a routine participant in Track 1.5 and Track 2 interactions.  Choe has also served as an English language interpreter for Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and other senior DPRK leadership when they have interacted with foreign nationals.  In June 2016, Choe was appointed Director of the North American Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Ministry and uses the external title Director of the American Studies Institute of the Foreign Ministry.

Choe Son Hui receives a document from the Russian Ambassador to the DPRK during a meeting on March 5, 2018 (Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the DPRK).

In late 2018, there were rumors that Choe would be promoted again within the Foreign Ministry, either as an Ambassador-at-Large or the DPRK’s Ambassador to the UN Mission in New York.  Instead, in late February 2018, Choe Son Hui was appointed Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs with a focus on US-DPRK interactions.

Interview data acquired by Michael Madden, 2015-2018; “N. Korean Interpreter to Six-party Talks Promoted in Foreign Ministry: Source,” Yonhap News Agency, October 13, 2010

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