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General Kim Won-hong (Korean김원홍; born 17 July 1945) is a North Korean politician and military leader.

Kim was born in North Hwanghae Province. He graduated from the Workers' Party of Korea's Kim Il-sung Higher Party School and has been serving in the Korean People's Army since 1962, holding several positions in the army's General Political Bureau as well as commander of army corps. His first public mention was as a funeral committee member for late Marshal Choe Kwang in 1997. He was elected deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly in 1998.[1]

Kim Won-hong rose to prominence in 2003, as he was appointed commander of the Military Security Command (the North Korean army's intelligence unit) following the death of General Won Ung-hui, who had been heading it since 1990. In April 2009, Kim was promoted to General and then migrated to the KPA General Political Bureau's Organisation Department, at the same time when Kim Jong-il reportedly put Kim Jong-un in charge of the Ministry of State Security to which the Military Security Command is affiliated.[2] Kim was also made a member of the Party's Central Committee and Central Military Commission in September 2010 and was reported to having a role in ensuring Kim Jong-un's succession.[3]

After Kim Jong-il's death and acting head of State Security U Tong-chuk's purge, Kim Won-hong appeared as one of Kim Jong-un's most trusted and supporting generals.[4][5] He was made a Politburo member as well as the first minister of State Security in 25 years in April 2012. He was also elected member of the National Defence Commission. The South Korean government reported in February 2017 that Kim Won-hong was fired in mid-January after he was demoted to a one-star general from a four-star one on charges of corruption and abuse of power.[6] He then disappeared from public view, but resurfaced in April 2017 for Day of the Sun celebrations, bearing the four-star insignia on his uniform.[7]

In late November 2017, Kim Won Hong was named as one of two North Korean officials punished for "impure behavior." According to South Korean Rep. Kim Byunk-kee, Kim Won Hong, identified as deputy director of North Korea's General Political Bureau (GPB), was reportedly punished along with the director of that bureau, identified as Hwang Pyong So. The form of punishment was unspecified.[8]

Despite being punished he did appear at an April 2017 parade, though when Kim Jong-Un walked by it appeared he was ignored possibly meaning he had some respect lost. In May 2017, he was appointed to Deputy Director of the KPA General Political Department. In September he was under investigation again and removed from the position with the WPK Organization Guidance Department. During April and May 2018, he lost his positions as WPK Political Bureau, WPK Central Military Commission and the State Affairs Commission.[9]


  1. ^ "Gen. Kim Won Hong". North Korea Leadership Watch. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Kim Jong-il's Son 'Effectively Control Security Forces". Chosun Ilbo. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Gen. Kim Won Hong". North Korea Leadership Watch. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Gen. Kim Won Hong". North Korea Leadership Watch. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "NSA On the Edge". Sino-NK. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  6. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (4 February 2017). "North Korean Leader's Top Enforcer Is Now the One Getting Purged". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  7. ^ Choe Sang-Hun; Sanger, David E.; Broad, William J. (15 April 2017). "North Korean Missile Launch Fails, and a Show of Strength Fizzles". New York Times. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  8. ^ Berlinger, Joshua and Taephoon, Lee.
  9. ^
Political offices
Title last held by
Ri Chun-su
U Tong-chuk as first vice-minister
Minister of State Security
Military offices
Preceded by
Won Ung-hui
Commander of the Military Security Command
Succeeded by
Jo Kyong-chol