Open main menu

Ri Yong-mu (born January 25, 1925)[1] is a senior North Korean official. He is a member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea, vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea and vice-marshal of the Korean People's Army.[2]

Ri Yong-mu
Revised RomanizationRi Yong-mu
McCune–ReischauerRi Yong-mu

He is the second oldest member of the central leadership of North Korea after Kim Yong-ju.




Ri was born in South Pyo'ngan Province, Pyo'ngso'ng[1] in Japanese-occupied Korea. He attended the second central political school.

Kim Il-Sung era (1948-1994)Edit

After the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea he was named military attache to the North Korean embassy in the People's Republic of China.

In 1964 he was made first vice-chairman of the Politburo of the Korean People's Army (not to be confused with the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea) and promoted to lieutenant general.

At the 5th Congress of the Workers' Party in 1970 he was elected to the Central Committee. In 1973 he was promoted to general and made chairman of the Politburo of the Korean People's Army. He was subsequently elected to the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea in 1974.

Ri was purged in 1977 and demoted to a low administrative position. He was however rehabilitated a decade later and made an alternate member of the 6th Central Committee in 1988, to be finally restored to full central committee member in 1989.

Kim Jong-Il era (1994-2011)Edit

Ri was elected to the National Defence Commission in 1998, being also promoted to the second highest military rank of vice-marshal. He was reelected in 2003 and 2009. As the Workers' Party politburo, central military commission and central committee were de facto suspended under Kim Jong-Il's "military first" policy from 1994 to 2010, the National Defence Commission became in practice the highest decision-making body in the country and Ri hence part of the innermost circle of power.

When in 2010 Kim Jong-Il revived Workers' Party operations after 16 years of dormancy, Ri was also elected to the politburo.

Kim Jong-Un era (2011-)Edit

Upon the death of Kim Jong-Il in 2011, Ri was ranked 13th in the funeral committee. This presumably corresponds to his ceremonial rank in the top leadership at that time.

Ri retained his place in the Politburo at the 4th Party Conference in 2012, and was reelected to the National Defence Commission by the 2014 Supreme People's Assembly.


  1. ^ a b "Sanctions List Search - Ri Yong-mu". US Treasury. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Ri Yong-mu". Korean Broadcasting System. Retrieved 20 December 2011.