May 17, 2022

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Hong Yong Chil: Third generation munitions industry leader

Little-known official may be being groomed for higher munitions industry position

During 2013, Kim Jong Un’s entourage for his on-site visits has consisted of a number of names and faces unfamiliar to many Pyongyang watchers. One such official is Hong Yong Chil, deputy director of the Korean Workers Party Machine-Building Industry Department. Hong is a key official in the daily management of the country’s production of arms and military supplies. He also has ties to Ryonha Machine Management Bureau (a.k.a. part of the the Ryonha Machine Complex) which produces machines and machine tools linked to missile production. Based on his 24 reported appearances in DPRK state media in 2013, Hong appears linked to the production of both conventional and advanced weapons.

According to a study by the ROK Ministry of Unification, excerpted in a July 2013 article in Yonhap, Hong appears to be in his early 50s, making him a member of the Third Generation of Revolutionary Leadership, the demographically amorphous group (cadres range in age from their 30s to their 50s) which might also be called the Kim Jong Un Generation. His first significant mention in DPRK state media was in early 2011, when he was awarded the prestigious state title of Labor Hero. As the party’s chief secretary at the Unsan Tools Factory, Hong had a major role in the development of the Unsan Instruments Factory. He accompanied the late leader Kim Jong Il on a visit to the factory in February 2011.