Jo Myong-rok

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Jo Myong-rok
Chosŏn'gŭl 조명록
Hancha 趙明禄
Revised Romanization Jo Myeong-rok
McCune–Reischauer Cho Myŏngrok
Jo Myong-rok, second right (October 2000)

Jo Myong-rok (12 July 1928 – 6 November 2010[1]) was a North Korean military officer who held the military rank Chasu (Vice Marshal). In 2009, he was appointed First Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea,[2] Director of the Korean People's Army General Political Bureau. Previously, he was the commander of the air defence forces.

Life and career

Jo was born in Yonsa County, North Hamgyong province, on 12 July 1928 and he joined the Korean People's Army in December 1950.[3] He was a graduate of the Manchuria Aviation School and Soviet Air Academy.[3]

After serving as a pilot in the Korean War, Jo was promoted to major general in 1954 and lieutenant general in 1976. Meanwhile, he held other important posts, such as commanding officer of Pyongyang's Air Defence Command (1975–1977), and commanding officer of the KPA Air Force from 1977 to 1995.

Myong-nok meets Bill Clinton at the White House, October 2000

At the 6th Party Congress in 1980, Jo Myong-rok was elected both member of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (of which he had been an alternate member since 1975) and its Military Commission. In the 1990s, he saw a huge increase of his importance: in 1992 he was promoted to general; in 1994 he was part of Kim Il-sung's funeral committee; in 1995 he was promoted to Vice Marshal and director of the KPA General Political Bureau.

He made a key speech commemorating the third anniversary of Kim Il Sung's death in special ceremonies on 8 July 1997.[4] By 1998, when he was also appointed to the position of First Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission, he was the second most powerful person in the country, ranking immediately beneath Kim Jong-il himself.

In 2000, he traveled to Washington D.C. on a goodwill mission.[5]

On 6 November 2010, Jo died of a heart attack at the age of 82,[1] one month after he was elected as member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau.[6] His funeral committee was chaired by Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. He was lying in state in the Central Workers' Hall (home of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea) in Pyongyang before buried in the Patriotic Martyrs' Cemetery.

Against expectations, his successor was not elected at the 4th Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly in April 2011. There was speculation that Kim Jong-il was deliberately leaving the post vacant in order to promote his son, Kim Jong-un, when he was ready.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 北韓將領趙明祿逝世 (in 中文). RTHK. 7 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Pyongyang shuffles its military, not policies". Asia Times. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Profiles of Presidium and Members of Political Bureau", KCNA, 29 September 2010.
  4. "Activities of DPRK VMAR Cho Myong Nok Assessed," Seoul Yonhap, Internet Version, 29 September 2000.
  5. [1]
  6. 北朝鮮の軍ナンバー2が死去、国葬へ. Yomiuri Shimbun; YOMIURI ONLINE (in Japanese). 7 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Title last held by
O Chin-u
First Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission
Title next held by
Post abolished (2012)
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of the Korean People's Air Force
Succeeded by
Oh Gum-chol
Preceded by
O Chin-u
Director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army
Title next held by
Choe Ryong-hae