North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kang Sang Chun

Kang Sang Chun

updated February 25, 2018

Kang Sang Chun was the last known director of Kim Jong Il’s Personal Secretariat and is a senior manager in Kim Jong Un’s Personal Secretariat.  As incumbent in that position he was the chief executive officer of KJI’s administrative and logistical staff.  Kang held concurrent ranks of a Workers Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee Department Director and Deputy Director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department.  Kang Sang Chun is Kim Jong Il’s third cousin (maternal).

Kang was born in 1940 in South P’yo’ngan Province.  He attended Kim Il Sung University with KJI, graduating in 1963.  He also attended the Kim Il Sung Higher Party School in 1967.

He joined Kim Jong Il’s Personal Secretariat in the early 1980s as a party cadre.  He was a manager of some of the regime’s overseas business interests in Macau, where he was detained by local authorities in the early 1990s.

In 1994, Kang Sang Chun was appointed deputy (vice) director of OGD and became chief of the Office of Main Adjutants.  He managed KJI’s schedule, and his security and logistical needs when traveling within the country.

In 2002 Kang was promoted to director of the Personal Secretariat, becoming KJI’s primary gatekeeper.  There have been rumors that Kang has been suspended due to legal entanglements outside the DPRK (involving real estate).  He was also allegedly in conflict with Kim Ok (KJI’s technical secretary and domestic partner) and Jang Song Thaek.  However, Kang continued to work as head of the Personal Secretariat through late 2010.

Kang Sang Chun has a senior role in Kim Jong Un’s Personal Secretariat, likely due to having close ties to Kim Sul Song.

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