Jang Sung-taek

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Jang Sung-taek
장성택
張成澤
Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2010
Serving with Kim Yong-Chun
Ri Yong-mu, O Kuk-ryol
LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Chief of the Central Administrative Department of Workers' Party of Korea
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 2007
LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Preceded byNew position
Personal details
Born(1946-02-02) 2 February 1946 (age 66)
Kangwon-do, North Korea
Spouse(s)Kim Kyong-hui
RelationsKim Jong-il (brother-in-law)
Kim Jong-un (uncle by marriage)
 
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Jang Sung-taek
장성택
張成澤
Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 June 2010
Serving with Kim Yong-Chun
Ri Yong-mu, O Kuk-ryol
LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Chief of the Central Administrative Department of Workers' Party of Korea
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 2007
LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Preceded byNew position
Personal details
Born(1946-02-02) 2 February 1946 (age 66)
Kangwon-do, North Korea
Spouse(s)Kim Kyong-hui
RelationsKim Jong-il (brother-in-law)
Kim Jong-un (uncle by marriage)
Jang Sung-taek
Chosŏn'gŭl장성택
Hancha
McCune–ReischauerChang Sŏngt'aek
Revised RomanizationJang Seong-taek

Jang Sung-taek, (born 2 February 1946; alternatively Jang Song-thaek or Chang Sung-taek) is a North Korean politician and the uncle of Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea.[1][2] He is a leading figure in the North Korean government. South Korean government officials and academic North Korea watchers suggested that he may have taken on de facto leadership over North Korea due to Kim Jong-il's ailing health, and later death.[3] Jang is currently Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission, a position considered second only to that of the Supreme Leader.[4] He is a four star general and is thought to have been promoted to that position around the time of Kim Jong-il's death as his first appearance in uniform was while visiting Kim lying in state.[5]


Contents

Personal life

Jang was born in Kangwon-do. He graduated from the Kim Il-sung Senior High School before leaving for Moscow, where he studied between 1968 and 1972. Upon his return, he married Kim Kyong-hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong-il.[1] The couple had a daughter, Jang Kum-song (1977–2006), who lived overseas in Paris as an international student; she refused an order to return to Pyongyang and then committed suicide in September 2006, reportedly due to Jang and his wife Kim's opposition to her relationship with her boyfriend.[6]

Career

Early career

Jang was formerly an instructor to the Pyongyang Party Committee, and later the vice director of the Workers' Party of Korea's Organisation and Guidance Department since 1982, being first assigned to youth policies and then to capital city construction. In 1989 he was co-opted in the WPK Central Committee as an alternate member, and promoted to full member in 1992, when he was also appointed first deputy director of the Organization and Guidance Department, with responsibility over security activities.

Jang had been identified by outside analysts as well as North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop as a possible successor to Kim Jong-il; however, on 25 November 2004, South Korea's National Assembly heard testimony that he had been purged from his position.[7]

Rehabilitation

Jang re-emerged in March 2006, accompanying Kim Jong-il on an official visit to China.[1] In October 2007, the Korean Central News Agency confirmed that Jang had been promoted to the newly recreated post of first vice-director of the Workers' Party of Korea, with oversight responsibility for the police, judiciary, and other areas of internal security; Jang attended South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun's luncheon during the latter's visit to the North.[2] It was later revealed that Jang had been actually appointed director of the Administration Department, an old agency of the Workers' Party abolished in 1990 and re-created by splitting the Organization Department.

Jang was elected to the powerful National Defence Commission in April 2009, and one of its vice-chairmen in June 2010. The NDC is North Korea's de facto supreme decision making body. Thus Jang's promotion amounts to something of a executive deputy role, second only to Kim Jong-Il. It is speculated that the move was part of posturing to make Kim Jong-Il's son Kim Jong-un the next leader of North Korea.[8] Jang's position in North Korean politics was also ostensibly boosted by the death of Ri Je-gang, a senior leader who was tipped by Kim Jong-il as a crucial overseer of the succession campaign.[4]

Later, at the WPK Conference held in September 2010, he was appointed alternate member of the Politburo and confirmed Administration Department director at the first meeting of the Party Central Committee after 17 years.

Under Kim Jong-un

On 25 December 2011, North Korean television Sunday showed Jang in the uniform of a general. A Seoul official familiar with North Korea affairs said it was the first time Jang has been shown on state television in a military uniform. His appearance suggested that Jang has secured a key role in the North's powerful military, which has pledged its allegiance to Kim Jong-un.[9] Jang's importance in the new regime continued to be demonstrated during his 2012 visit to China: various aspects of the visit echoed protocol which had only ever been followed in the past for Kim Jong-il, including half of his entourage arriving ahead of time as an "advance party", and even Chinese ambassador to North Korea Liu Hongcai returning to China beforehand to greet Jang upon his arrival.[10]

Recent Activities

On 17 August 2012, Jang met with China's Premier Wen Jiabao in Ziguangge, Zhongnanhai. Also, Jang met with China's President Hu Jintao,Wang Jiarui, head of China's International Department of the CPC Central Committee and Minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Ping, Minister of Finance, Xie Xuren, Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, Secretary of the CPC Provincial Committee of Liaoning, Wang Min, Secretary of the CPC Provincial Committee of Jilin Sun Zhengcai and Zhang Zhijun, China's Vice Foreign Minister.[11] He was the head of a delegation of the joint steering committee for developing and managing the Rason Economic and Trade Zone and the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone.[12] In the announcment, he was listed as chief of the central administrative department of the Workers' Party of Korea, a member of the WPK Political Bureau, and vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission.[13] Jang said Kim Jong-un believed that bilateral relations with China are important and that the "profound friendship will be passed on from generation to generation".[14] At the meeting with Wen, Jang said "The DPRK is willing to closely cooperate with China to accelerate relevant efforts and push forward cooperation in developing economic zones."[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c "장성택(張成澤)". Information Center on North Korea, Ministry of Unification, Republic of Korea. http://unibook.unikorea.go.kr/new2/tongiljeongbo/p_1_detail_view.jsp?code=305. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b "North Korean media confirms promotion of Jang Song-thaek to senior post". Yonhap News. 13 December 2007. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2007/12/13/29/0401000000AEN20071212003300325F.HTML. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  3. ^ Webster, Ben (8 November 2008). "North Korea 'is being run by Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law'". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5107960.ece. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  4. ^ a b Choe, Sang-hun (7 June 2010). "N. Korea Reshuffle Seen as Part of Succession Plan". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/08/world/asia/08korea.html?emc=eta1. 
  5. ^ Salmon, Andrew; Blair, David (28 December 2011). "Kim Jong-il funeral: Kim Jong-un steps up as nation mourns". Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8980892/Kim-Jong-il-funeral-Kim-Jong-un-steps-up-as-nation-mourns.html. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Yi, Yeong-jong (18 September 2006). "파리의 김정일 조카 장금송 비운의 러브스토리 (Unlucky love story of Kim Jong-il's niece in Paris)" (in Korean). JoongAng Ilbo. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070310133258/http://www.joins.com/article/2450717.html?ctg=1000. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  7. ^ Demick, Barbara (4 December 2004). "Kim Jong Il purges relative from power, paving way for sons". The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002113774_kim09.html. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  8. ^ Kim, Sam. "N. Korean leader shows up at parliament, shakes up posts: report". Yonhap News Agency. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/06/07/66/0401000000AEN20100607008200315F.HTML. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  9. ^ "North Korean power-behind-throne emerges as neighbors meet". Reuters. 25 December 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/25/us-korea-north-power-idUSTRE7BO02I20111225. 
  10. ^ "China Rolls Out Red Carpet for N.Korea's Jang Song-taek", The Chosun Ilbo, 2012-08-17, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/08/16/2012081601187.html, retrieved 2012-08-17 
  11. ^ "President Hu Jintao Meets with DPRK Delegation of the Joint Steering Committee for Developing Two Economic Zones" (in English). U.S. PR of China Embassy. 2012/08/17. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t962145.htm. Retrieved 8/28/2012. 
  12. ^ "Wen Jiabao Meets with DPRK Delegation of the Joint Steering Committee for Developing Two Economic Zones" (in English). PR of China's US Embassy. 2012/08/17. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t962140.htm. Retrieved 8/28/2012. 
  13. ^ "Wen Jiabao Meets with DPRK Delegation of the Joint Steering Committee for Developing Two Economic Zones" (in English). PR of China's US Embassy. 2012/08/17. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t962140.htm. Retrieved 8/28/2012. 
  14. ^ "Wen Jiabao Meets with DPRK Delegation of the Joint Steering Committee for Developing Two Economic Zones" (in English). PR of China's US Embassy. 2012/08/17. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t962140.htm. Retrieved 8/28/2012. 
  15. ^ "Wen Jiabao Meets with DPRK Delegation of the Joint Steering Committee for Developing Two Economic Zones" (in English). PR of China's US Embassy. 2012/08/17. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t962140.htm. Retrieved 8/28/2012. 

External links

Party political offices
New titleChief of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Administration Department
2007 – present
Incumbent