North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Tok Hun

updated and revised 14 August 2020

Kim Tok Hun (Kim Tok-hun) is the DPRK Premier and a Presidium (standing committee) Member of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Political Bureau.  He is also a member of the WPK Central Committee and a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA].

Kim began his career as a floor manager and supervisor in North Korea’s heavy industry sector.  His first significant position was an assistant manager at the Taean Heavy Machinery Complex.  He was appointed manager of Taean Heavy Machinery Complex in 2003 when the DPRK instituted its “complex enterprise system” in 2001.  Kim was elected a deputy to the 11th SPA in 2003.

In 2008, Kim Tok Hun was removed from his factory manager’s position and did not hold any public positions, including elections to the 12th SPA in March 2009.  There is a possibility he served as an advisor to Kim Jong Un after KJU’s designation as hereditary successor in early 2009.  Kim Tok Hun re-emerged in the public aspects of DPRK political culture in 2011 when he was appointed Chairman of the Chagang (Jagang) People’s Provincial Committee.

Kim was elected a deputy to the 13th SPA in March 2014 and appointed DPRK Vice Premier. He was elected a member of the WPK Central Committee during the 7th Party Congress in May 2016.   He was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the WPK Political Bureau and was returned to the SPA and reappointed DPRK Vice Premier during the opening session of the 14th SPA in April 2019.

During the December 2019 plenary session of the WPK Central Committee, Kim was upgraded to a full WPK Political Bureau member.  He was also elected a KWP Vice Chairman on the Executive Policy Bureau (Council).  Two months after his appointment, Kim Jong Un revealed a major abuse of power and corruption scandal within the “cadres’ training apparatus” during a Politburo meeting; Kim Tok Hun most likely learned of and reported this after his appointment.

On 13 August 2020, in an order issued by the State Affairs Commission [SAC] Kim Tok Hun was appointed DPRK Premier.  At a Political Bureau meeting held later the same day, Kim was elected a Presidium (standing committee) Member of the Political Bureau.


Kim Tok Hun

DPRK Premier

Presidium Member, WPK Political Bureau

Member, WPK Central Committee

Deputy, Supreme People’s Assembly


2001: Deputy Manager, Taean Heavy Machinery Complex

2003: Manager, Taean Heavy Machinery Complex

(July) Elected, deputy, 11th Supreme People’s Assembly

2011: (December) Appointed, Chairman, Chagang Provincial People’s Committee

2014: (March) Elected, deputy, 13th Supreme People’s Assembly

(April) Appointed, DPRK Vice Premier

2015: (November) Member, Ri Ul Sol Funeral Committee

(December) Member, Kim Yang Gon Funeral Committee

2016: (May) Elected, Member, WPK Central Committee

(May) Member, Kang Sok Ju Funeral Committee

2018: (August) Member, Kim Yong Chun Funeral Committee

(December) Member, Kim Chol Man Funeral Committee

2019: (March) Elected, deputy, 14th Supreme People’s Assembly

Chairman, SPA Budget Committee

(April) Elected, Alternate Member, WPK Political Bureau

(December) Elected, WPK Vice Chairman

Elected, Member, WPK Political Bureau

2020: (August) Appointed, DPRK Premier

Elected, Presidium Member, WPK Political Bureau


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