March 20, 2023

North Korea appoints new armed forces minister

Hyon Yong Chol replaces Jang Jong Nam as MPAF

North Korea has appointed a new minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Hyon Yong Chol, replacing Jang Jong Nam sometime earlier this month. Hyon was referred to as minister of the People’s Armed Forces – North Korea’s equivalent of a defense minister – in a KCTV broadcast about the construction of the Satellite (Wisong) Scientists’ Street in Pyongyang on June 25. His predecessor, Jang Jong Nam, was last referred to by this title on June 4, so the change has taken place within the past three weeks.

Hyon previously served as chief of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013. At the time, he was also appointed vice chairman of the Party Central Military Commission (CMC) and held the rank of vice marshal, but was demoted in October 2012 to general. He may have again been demoted to colonel general when he was replaced as chief of the KPA General Staff and made commander of V Corps in May of last year. He now holds the rank of full general. He is also an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea. Hyon was born in 1949 in North Hamgyong Province and joined the KPA in 1966.