North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ji Jae Ryong (Chi Chae-ryong)

Photo: Yonhap

updated February 24, 2018

Ji Jae Ryong (Chi Chae-ryong) is DPRK Ambassador to China (PRC) and an alternate member of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee.  He was appointed to the position in October 2010, while the DPRK and PRC commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) participation in the Fatherland Liberation [Korean] War in Pyongyang and Beijing, respectively.

He was born in 1940 in South Hamgyo’ng Province.  He graduated from the social sciences program at Kim Il-so’ng University.  Ji began his official career as Vice Chairman of the Kim Il-so’ng Youth League [KISYL].  In March 1973 he was elected chairman of the Korean Students’ Union [Korean Students’ Committee].  In his position at KISYL, Ji traveled outside the DPRK on numerous occasions, where he developed extensive contacts.

Ji led his first KISYL delegation on a trip to Nepal in 1973.  In the same year he also led delegations on trips to Poland, Finland, Germany and Romania.  In May 1973 he served on the reception committee for a group of Japanese Koreans visiting the DPRK.  In 1974 Ji participated in a conference for Pan-African youth, held in Libya.  In 1975 he led delegations on trips to Japan, Argentina, Iraq and Algeria.

In 1977 Ji Jae Ryong was elected Chairman of the Kim Il-so’ng Youth League.  He led delegations on visits to Algeria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia.  Chi was a member of the Central Election Commission organized ahead of elections to the 6th Supreme People’s Assembly.  Chi was first elected to the SPA in 1977 and was a member of its Presidium [Standing Committee].  In October 1978 Chi led a KISYL delegation on a visit to Moscow to commemorate the anniversary of the Soviet Socialist Youth League.  In February 1979 Chi visited the PRC.

In January 1981, Ji was removed as KISYL Chairman and appointed a roving ambassador for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA], primarily in central and east Europe.  In the 1980s Chi held diplomatic positions in the former Czechoslovakia and in former Yugoslavia.  He returned to the DPRK in the early 1990s to work as a section chief the WPK International Affairs Department.  In this position he made several visits to Europe and PRC.  Ji was promoted to Deputy (Vice) Director of the WPK International Affairs Department in 1996.

In January 1998, Ji Jae Ryong headed a delegation that traveled to the UK.  This resulted in the Korea International Insurance Company opening a London branch office.  Ji led another delegation on a February 2001 trip to France.  From 2004 to 2007 Ji seemed inactive in either the party or government.  He re-emerged in 2007 as a deputy director in the WPK Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Ji was elected an alternate [candidate] member of the WPK Central Committee during the 3rd Party Conference in September 2010.

On 26 October 2010 the PRC Foreign Ministry announced that Ji Jae Ryong replaced Ch’oe P’yo’ng-kwan as DPRK Ambassador to the PRC.  In 2013, Ji’s long time political benefactor Jang Song Thaek was dismissed from office and executed.  It was widely speculated that Ji would be recalled to Pyongyang.  However, it later emerged that information that Ji provided during routine reports to the home country supported the findings of investigators and that Ji sided with Kim Jong Un over Jang.

During the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Ji was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the 7th WPK Central Committee.

DPRK Ambassador to China, Chi Chae-yong, meets with the president of Xinhua News Agency, Li Congjun, in Beijing on 24 March 2011 (Photo: Xinhua)

See also:

“New DPRK ambassador arrives in China,” Xinhua, October 26, 2010

“N. Korea names senior party official as new envoy to China,” Kyodo News Agency, October 26, 2010

Yonhap News Agency.  North Korea Handbook Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2003 pp. 618; 620

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