Kim Chol-man

Last updated

Colonel General

Kim Chol-man
Born2 November 1920
South Pyongan Province, Japanese Korea
Died3 December 2018 (aged 98)
Pyongyang, North Korea
AllegianceFlag of North Korea.svg North Korea
Service/branch Korean People's Army
Years of service1937–2018
RankColonel General
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Hero of the Republic
Double Hero
Kim Chol-man
Revised Romanization Gim Cheolman
McCune–Reischauer Kim Ch'ŏl Man

Kim Chol-man (김철만; 2 November 1920 – 3 December 2018) [1] was a North Korean politician and military official. He was a member of several important committees and organizations, including the Central Military Commission, the Politburo, and the Second Economic Committee. He was at the forefront of the North Korean munitions industry, the country's economic base. In old age Kim was no longer considered a major player in North Korean politics, having retired from most of his important posts.

Central Military Commission of the Workers Party of Korea Political agency overseeing North Koreas armed forces

The Central Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (CMC) is an organ of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) which is responsible for coordinating the Party organizations within the Korean People's Army (KPA). One of the CMC’s primary functions is to authorize defense and munitions spending and product orders, and to determine how natural resources and products from military-controlled production units are earmarked and distributed domestically and for sale abroad. According to the WPK Charter, the CMC directs WPK activities in the KPA and is chaired by the WPK Chairman. The CMC relies on a number of organizations to carry out its mandate, including the KPA General Political Department, the WPK Military Department, and the WPK Machine-Building Department. The CMC also uses the WPK Military Affairs Department to transmit guidance and indoctrination of North Korea's reserve military training units.

Politburo of the Workers Party of Korea North Korean decision-making body

The Politburo, officially the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), formerly the Political Council, is the highest decision-making body in the party between sessions of the Central Committee. Article 25 of Party Charter stipulate: "The Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee and its Standing Committee organize and direct all party work on behalf of the party Central Committee between plenary meetings. The Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee shall meet at least once every month." The Politburo is elected by the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.


Early life and education

Kim was born in 1920 in South Pyongan Province. He is the brother-in-law of Han Tok-su, former chairman of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. [1]

South Pyongan Province Province in Kwanso, North Korea

South Pyongan Province is a province of North Korea. The province was formed in 1896 from the southern half of the former Pyongan Province, remained a province of Korea until 1945, then became a province of North Korea. Its capital is Pyongsong.

He was trained at the Frunze Military Academy in the Soviet Union, then known as the RKKA Military Academy. [1]

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Military career

Kim joined Kim Il-sung's United Army in 1937 along with other first-generation leaders such as Ri Ul-sol and Kim Ik-hyon. [2]

Kim Il-sung President of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

Kim Il-sung was the first leader of North Korea which he ruled from the country's establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Premier from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to 1994. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) from 1949 to 1994. Coming to power after the end of Japanese rule in 1945, he authorized the invasion of South Korea in 1950, triggering an intervention in defense of South Korea by the United Nations led by the United States. Following the military stalemate in the Korean War, a ceasefire was signed on 27 July 1953. He was the second longest-serving non-royal head of state/government in the 20th century, in office for more than 48 years.

Ri Ul-sol North Korean Army Marshal

Ri Ul-sol was a North Korean politician and military official. He played an important role in the administrations of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, achieving the rank of Marshal of the Korean People's Army. He was responsible for the safety of top North Korean leaders and their families as Commander of the Guard.

Military career [1]
Position/rankDate promotedUnit
Colonel ( sangjwa )1945 Korean People's Army
Commanding OfficerSeptember 194825th Regiment, 12th Division, Korean People's Army
Major General (sojang)1953 Korean People's Army
Commanding OfficerApril 195537th Division, Korean People's Army
Lieutenant General ( chungjang )July 1962 Korean People's Army
Commanding OfficerJanuary 19652nd Army Corps, Korean People's Army
Deputy Chief of StaffFebruary 1968 Korean People's Army
Colonel General (sangjang)February 1968 Korean People's Army
Senior Deputy Chief of StaffJuly 1970 Korean People's Army
Director-General ( daejang )September 1988Bureau of Supply and Maintenance, Korean People's Army

Kim saw action in the Korean War and suffered physical wounds. [2]

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Kim also held many para-military posts. In 1964, he became the Director-General of the Strategy Bureau in the Ministry of People's Security. During this time, he was a central figure in the establishment of a unitary leadership and a collective principle system in North Korea, along with Kim Jong-il. [1] In October 1980 he was appointed a member of the powerful Central Military Commission of the Korean Workers' Party. In September 1998 he became a member of the National Defense Commission. [1] Kim lead North Korea's munitions industry, the country's economic base, along with Korean Workers' Party Secretary Jon Pyong-ho. [2]

Ministry of Peoples Security

The Ministry of People's Security is a law enforcement agency in North Korea.

North Korea Sovereign state in East Asia

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang the capital and the largest city in the country. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok and Tumen rivers; it is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. Nevertheless, North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands.

Kim Jong-il General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea

Kim Jong-il was the second leader of North Korea. He ruled from the death of his father Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, in 1994 until his own death in 2011. He was an unelected dictator and was often accused of human rights violations.

Political career

In November 1967, as a member of the first generation of North Korean leadership, Kim was elected as an alternate member to the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party. He was elevated to full member status in November 1970. [1] Kim's position was placed in danger following a 1969 purge of military officials, but survived untouched. [2] For a short period of time (October 1980 – September 1981) Kim was an alternate member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea, the highest decision-making body of North Korea. [1]

Special positions he held include the Chair of the Second Economic Committee, and the funeral committees of both Kim Il-sung and O Jin-u. [1] The funeral committees are often seen as an indicator of de facto power. [3] [4]

In old age, Kim was retired from many of his positions. During a reshuffle in 2003, which saw the removal of other members of the first generation of North Korean leadership such as Ri Ul-sol, [5] [6] Kim was retired from the Second Economic Committee and the National Defense Commission. [7] He held on to membership in the Central Military Committee until September 2010. [7]

He was a delegate deputy to the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Supreme People's Assemblies. [1]


Kim was the recipient of the Hero of the Republic and Double Hero awards in 1968 and 1992 respectively. [1]


Kim Chol-man died of bladder cancer on 3 December 2018 at the age of 98. [8] His funeral committee was chaired by Kim Jong-un and was composed of the following members: [9]

  1. Kim Jong-un
  2. Choe Ryong-hae
  3. Pak Pong-ju
  4. Yang Hyong-sop
  5. Ri Myong-su
  6. Ri Su-yong
  7. Kim Phyong-hae
  8. Thae Jong-su
  9. O Su-yong
  10. An Jong-su
  11. Kim Yong-chol
  12. Choe Pu-il
  13. Ro Tu-chol
  14. Choe Hwi
  15. Pak Thae-dok
  16. Kim Su-gil
  17. Ri Yong-gil
  18. No Kwang-chol
  19. Jong Kyong-thaek
  20. Im Chol-ung
  21. Jo Yon-jun
  22. Ri Man-gon
  23. Ri Pyong-chol
  24. Kim Nung-o
  25. Kim Tok-hun
  26. Ri Ju-o
  27. Ri Ryong-nam
  28. Tong Jong-ho
  29. Jon Kwang-ho
  30. Ko In-ho
  31. Kim Yong-dae
  32. Hwang Sun-hui
  33. Pak Kyong-suk
  34. Ri Yong-suk
  35. Ri Il-hwan
  36. Ri Chol-man
  37. Choe Tong-myong
  38. Ri Yong-rae
  39. Ryang Won-ho
  40. Pak To-chun
  41. Hong Sung-mu
  42. Hong Yong-chil
  43. Yu Jin
  44. Kang Pong-hun
  45. Kim Tu-il
  46. Mun Kyong-dok
  47. Pak Yong-ho
  48. Ryang Jong-hun
  49. Kim Jae-ryong
  50. Pak Jong-nam
  51. Ri Hi-yong
  52. Kim Song-il
  53. Ri Sang-won
  54. Kang Yang-mo
  55. Sin Yong-chol
  56. Jong Yong-guk
  57. Pak Chol-min
  58. Ju Yong-gil
  59. Kim Chang-yop
  60. Jang Chun-sil
  61. Jo Jun-mo
  62. So Hong-chan
  63. Son Chol-ju
  64. Jo Kyong-chol
  65. Ri Tu-song
  66. Yun Tong-hyon
  67. Kim Song-chol
  68. Ho Yong-chun
  69. Kim Hyong-ryong
  70. Ri Yong-ju
  71. O Kum-chol

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Kim Chol-man" (PDF). North Korean Leadership Watch. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Kim Chol-man" . Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  3. Hakoda, Tetsuya (27 December 2011). "All eyes set on Kim Jong Il's funeral committee list". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  4. "Clues from Kim Jong-il Funeral List". Chosun Ilbo. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  5. Haggard, Stephan. "Purges and Appointments I: What's Going On?". Peterson Institute for International Economics. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  6. "N.Korea Purges Party, Military". Chosun Ilbo. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. 1 2 "Kim Chol Man". North Korean Leadership Watch. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  8. "Kim Jong Un offers condolence over death WPK Central Committee member". United News of India. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  9. "State Funeral Committee for Kim Chol Man Formed". KCNA. 4 December 2018. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018.