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Kim Yong-chun (4 March 1936 – 16 August 2018) was a North Korean soldier and politician. He was a leader of the North Korean military. He held the North Korean military rank Chasu (Vice Marshal), was Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and was Minister of People's Armed Forces (roughly corresponds to Minister of Defence in other countries).[1][2] He held a minor post within the Workers Party.[2]

Kim Yong-chun
Kim Yong-chun.jpg
Revised RomanizationGim Yeong-chun
McCune–ReischauerKim Yŏng-ch'un


Early lifeEdit

Born in 1936 in Yanggang Province, he attended the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School and the Kim Il-sung Military University before starting his career in the party apparatus and the Korean People's Army.


He served as secretary of the South Pyongyang Provincial Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in the 1960s and was elected alternate member of the WPK Central Committee in 1980 at the 6th Party Congress. In 1986 he was elevated to Central Committee full member, director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau and deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly. He was abruptly purged in 1988 along with Chief of General Staff O Kuk-ryol for disputes with O Jin-u.[3]

Kim Yong-chun reappeared in the 1990s as he was promoted to general and director of the General Munitions Mobilization Bureau. He also oversaw the disbandment of the North Hamgyong Province's Sixth Army Corps, accused of corruption. In 1995, after O Jin-u's death, he was promoted to Vice Marshal and Chief of the KPA General Staff, a post he held until 2007, when he was appointed a vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission.

Kim Yong-chun was reputedly close to Kim Jong-il and a member of his court of aides.[3] He received new promotions in 2009 as Minister of People's Armed Forces and in 2010 as member of the Politburo and the Central Military Commission.

In December 2011, after the leader's death, he was ranked 5th among members of the Kim Jong-il funeral committee, immediately after Kim Jong-un and the Politburo Presidium members (Kim Yong-nam, Choe Yong-rim and Ri Yong-ho), signalling his powerful position in the new leadership.[4]

He was replaced as Minister by Kim Jong-gak and appointed director of the WPK Civil Defense Department in April 2012.[2] Although displaced from all significant leading posts, he was awarded the largely honorary rank of Marshal of the Korean People's Army in April 2016.[5]


Kim Yong-chun died on 16 August 2018 from myocardial infarction, aged 82. On his funeral committee were:[6]

  1. Kim Jong-un
  2. Kim Yong-nam
  3. Choe Ryong-hae
  4. Pak Pong-ju
  5. Ri Myong-su
  6. Pak Kwang-ho
  7. Ri Su-yong
  8. Kim Phyong-hae
  9. Thae Jong-su
  10. O Su-yong
  11. An Jong-su
  12. Pak Thae-song
  13. Kim Yong-chol
  14. Ri Yong-ho
  15. Choe Pu-il
  16. Ro Tu-chol
  17. Choe Hwi
  18. Pak Thae-dok
  19. Kim Su-gil
  20. Ri Yong-gil
  21. No Kwang-chol
  22. Jong Kyong-thaek
  23. Im Chol-ung
  24. Jo Yon-jun
  25. Ri Man-gon
  26. Ri Pyong-chol
  27. Kim Nung-o
  28. Kim Tok-hun
  29. Ri Ju-o
  30. Ri Ryong-nam
  31. Tong Jong-ho
  32. Jon Kwang-ho
  33. Ko In-ho
  34. Kim Yong-dae
  35. Ri Il-hwan
  36. Ri Chol-man
  37. Choe Tong-myong
  38. Ri Yong-rae
  39. Kim Kyong-ok
  40. Hwang Pyong-so
  41. Hong Sung-mu
  42. Kim Jong-gak
  43. Pak Su-il
  44. Hong Chan
  45. Jang Kil-song
  46. Son Chol-ju
  47. Jo Kyong-chol
  48. Ri Tu-song
  49. Ho Yong-chun
  50. Rim Un-guk
  51. Yun Tong-hyon
  52. Kim Jong-gwan
  53. Ri Song-guk
  54. Kim Hyong-ryong
  55. Kang Su-nam
  56. Kim Thaek-gu
  57. Ri Tong-chun
  58. Jong Yong-hak
  59. Kim Sang-gap
  60. Kim Song-chol
  61. O Kum-chol
  62. Pang Kwang-bok
  63. Yun Pyong-gwon
  64. An Ji-yong
  65. Kim Myong-gyun
  66. Pak Jong-chon
  67. Jang Tong-un
  68. Kwon Yong-jin
  69. Kim Song-gi
  70. Kim Chun-sik
  71. Kim Yong-h
  72. Kim Myong-sik
  73. Kim Kwang-hyok
  74. Pang Tu-sop
  75. Pak Kwang-ju
  76. Kim Myong-nam
  77. Kim Yong-bok
  78. Choe Tu-yong
  79. Ri Thae-sop
  80. Pak Myong-su
  81. Kim Sang-ryong
  82. Kim Kum-chol
  83. Ri Bong-chun
  84. Song Sok-won
  85. Ju Song-nam
  86. Song Yong-gon
  87. Ri Jong-nam
  88. Ko Myong-su
  89. Kim Kwang-su
  90. Ri Kwang-ho
  91. Hong Jong-duk
  92. Ri Yong-chol
  93. Kim Kwang-hyok
  94. Kim Chang-guk
  95. So Sang-won
  96. Kim Kuk-chang
  97. Ju Tong-chol
  98. Ri Yong-chol
  99. An Yong-sik
  100. Kim To-un
  101. Yu Rim-ho
  102. Yun Hui-hwan
  103. Sin Ki-chol
  104. Kim Kyong-ryong
  105. Han Pyo-sop
  106. Jo Nam-jin
  107. Han Myong-son
  108. O Pyong-chol
  109. Kim Jong-chol
  110. Jong Chol-ho
  111. Sim Thae-bong
  112. Jong Tong-chol
  113. Ko Won-nam
  114. Ju Jae-uk
  115. Kim Yong-chol
  116. Kim Tong-chol
  117. Chin Kwang-chol
  118. Han Chang-sun
  119. Cha Kyong-il
  120. Im Kwang-ung
  121. Ryo Chun-sok
  122. Kim Ki-son
  123. Choe Kyong-song
  124. Kang Tong-yun
  125. Kim Yun-sim
  126. Jon Chang-bok
  127. Jong Myong-do
  128. Pak Jae-gyong
  129. Son Jong-nam
  130. Jon Thae-ryong
  131. Ri Chang-hun
  132. Jon Sun-chol
  133. Kim Jong-gil
  134. Kang Pong-chan
  135. Kim Son-jin
  136. Kim Tu-il
  137. Mun Kyong-dok
  138. Pak Yong-ho
  139. Ryang Jong-hun
  140. Kim Jae-ryong
  141. Pak Jong-nam
  142. Ri Hi-yong
  143. Kim Song-il
  144. Ri Sang-won
  145. Kang Yang-mo
  146. Sin Yong-chol
  147. Pak Chol-min
  148. Ju Yong-gil
  149. Kim Chang-yop


  1. ^ <추가>북, 총리에 김영일, 국방위 부위원장에 김영춘 선임 (in Korean) Tongil News
  2. ^ a b c "Top 4 N. Korean Military Officials Fall Victim to Shakeup". Chosun Ilbo. Nov 30, 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b VMAR Kim Yong Chun, North Korea Leadership Watch. Accessdate: 2018-08-21
  4. ^ All eyes set on Kim Jong Il's funeral committee list Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, Asahi Shimbun, December 27, 2011.
  5. ^ Ha-young Choi (15 April 2016). "Kim Jong Un promotes senior military officials". NK News.
  6. ^ "MAR Kim Yong Chun (1936-2018)". North Korea Leadership Watch. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Kim Il-chol
Minister of People's Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Kim Jong-gak
Military offices
Preceded by
Choi Kwang
Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army
Succeeded by
Kim Kyok-sik