February 22, 2024

O Kuk Ryol, North Korean general under 3 generations of Kim leaders, dies at 90

Revolutionary family ensured quick rise in Pyongyang, but botched reforms in 1980s set back his political career

O Kuk Ryol, an iconic figure of North Korean politics who served under three generations of Kim rulers and helped establish the command structure of the country’s military, died last Thursday at the age of 90, according to state media.

O was still a teenager when the Soviets' handpicked leader, Kim Il Sung, established North Korea in the late 1940s, but he rose quickly through the ranks thanks to his family’s participation in guerilla campaigns against Imperial Japan alongside the DPRK founder. There is even a North Korean miniseries about the O family called “O brothers, the partisans.”