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Pak, Chang-ok

Pak Chang-ok encountered Kim Il Sung in an intense standoff in August 1956.


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Soviet-Korean Pak Chang-ok (박창옥) enlisted in the Soviet Red Army in 1942 as a reconnaissance officer. He was dispatched to Manchuria in 1943 to scout Japanese military movements. He was later transferred to serve in the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party. He served in numerous positions, including as Vice-Chairman of the KWP CC and Chairman of the State Planning Committee. Following the Korean War, Pak was a strong advocate of adopting the Soviet “New Course” in economics, which emphasized the development of light industry and consumer goods to elevate the living standards of the North Korean masses. Following a three-year debate inside the KWP. After an intense standoff with Kim Il Sung at the First Plenum of the Third KWP CC in August 1956, Pak’s KWP membership was temporarily stripped and he was relegated to a post at a cement factory in Madong. In 1959 he died from injuries he sustained during his time in Manchuria.

Popular Documents

September 20, 1956

Record of a Meeting between the Sino-Soviet Delegation and the Korean Workers' Party Presidium

Both Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai strongly urge the KWP Presidium and Kim Il Sung to consider rehabilitating those involved in the August Plenum Incident. Choe Yong-geon suggests that they will be restored to the Central Committee, but not necessarily to their original positions, and certainly not to the Presidium. As for those who fled to China, both Choe and Kim say that they will be allowed to rejoin the party, but not the Central Committee and will not be guaranteed their old positions.

May 6, 1958

Note concerning the August Group, Developed on the Basis of Party Documents, as well as on the Basis of Unofficial Sources of Information

The August Group criticizes Kim Il Sung cult of personality and many DPRK officials are removed from their positions.

March 12, 1956

Memorandum of Conversation with the DPRK Vice Premier of the Cabinet of Ministers and Member of the KWP CC Presidium, Pak Chang-ok

Relations between S.Filanov and Kim Il Sung are discussed, the internal political oppression of DPRK, the restricted press.

December 28, 1956

Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Report on the Situation in the Korean Workers' Party and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Soviet embassy in Pyongyang provides a description of the events leading up to the 1956 August Plenum,the strained relations between the DPRK and the PRC following the joint Sino-Soviet intervention, and North Korean development strategies.

September 23, 1956

Resolution of the Plenum of the Korean Workers' Party

The Korean Workers' Party Central Committee decides to rehabilitate those accused of planning a conspiracy against Kim Il Sung.