May 19, 2024

Arms and the man: The importance of being Jon Pyong Ho

More than anyone, ‘Mr. Munitions’ made North Korea a credible threat

Look at that face. Hewn from the living rock, wouldn’t you say? A face that has seen much, but not said too much. Keep your own counsel: That’s how you live to be 88 in North Korea.

Jon Pyong Ho, who died at that ripe old age of a heart attack on July 7, was indeed a survivor. This itself is an achievement in the Borgia-esque milieu of Pyongyang politics – the real one behind the scenes, not the public theater show – where no one, however grand, can ever count himself wholly safe from falling victim to intrigue or back-stabbing (think Jang Song Thaek).

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