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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

Hyeon Cheol-hae

James E. Hoare

General Hyeon was identified in the ROK media during autumn 2008 as the military figure who had accompanied Kim Jong Il the most during the year.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

HYEON CHEOL-HAE (1934- ). General Hyeon Cheol-hae was identified in the Republic of Korea (ROK) media during autumn 2008 as the military figure who had accompanied Kim Jong Il on most occasions (32 in all) during the year. He was also reported to have occupied a similar position in 2007. This led to speculation that he was in charge of day-to-day affairs after Kim apparently suffered a stroke in August 2008, and that he could be prominent in the post-Kim Jong Il leadership, but he seems to have fallen from prominence since then. He was listed as number 59th on Kim Jong Il’s funeral committee in December 2011.

Hyeon attended the Mangyeongdae Revolutionary School (1947-50) and studied in Romania in 1950. He was one of Kim Il Sung’s bodyguards during the Korean War. He was identified as deputy director of the General Political Department of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in 1968, an important role in the armed forces, when he was a major general. In 1973, he was the principal of the Rear Military Officer Academy with the same rank. By 1986, he was a lieutenant general and was director general of the General Logistics Bureau of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces. He became an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party in December 1991 and a full member in December 1993; he had meanwhile been promoted to colonel general in April 1992. He was a member of the funeral committee for Kim Il Sung in 1994. He became a full general in October 1995, when he was again identified as deputy director of the General Political Department of the KPA. He was a delegate to the l0th Supreme People’s Assembly in July 1998 and a member of its delegate Qualification Screening Committee in September the same year. In 2001, he accompanied Kim Jong Il on the latter’s visit to China.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).