O Jin-u

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O Jin-u
Chosŏn'gŭl 오진우
Hancha
Revised Romanization O Jinu
McCune–Reischauer O Chinu
This is a Korean name; the family name is O.

Marshal O Jin-u (March 8, 1917 – February 25, 1995) was a soldier and politician of North Korea. He was the Minister of Armed Forces for many years until his death in February 1995. O was the third most powerful person in North Korea, after Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il (therefore the most powerful person that possessed no blood relations to the Kim family). Very little is known about him except for the fact that he served with Kim Il-sung's partisan unit and eventually rose through the ranks of the North Korean Army. He distinguished himself during the Korean War and was a trusted adviser of the North Korean leader until his death, also being his chief guard in 1945.

O Jin-u rose rapidly through military ranks: he was appointed chief of general staff of the Korean People's Air Force in 1958, vice-minister of People's Security in 1962, general in 1963, director of the KPA General Political Bureau in 1967 and Chief of General Staff in 1968. This concurred with his ascent to the top leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea, becoming Central Committee member in 1954, Political Committee (former name of the Politburo) member in 1966, Secretariat member in 1968 and Presidium member in 1977. Extremely close to Kim Il-sung, he is credited among the top officials who "proposed" Kim Jong-il to be Kim Il-sung's heir at a Central Committee plenum in 1974.[1]

A deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly since 1960, O Jin-u was appointed member of the top Central People's Committee immediately after its establishment in 1972, as well as vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission and minister of the People's Armed Forces in 1976. He was also promoted to Vice Marshal in 1982 and Marshal in 1990.

After Kim Jong-il was made Chairman of the National Defence Commission in 1993, O Jin-u replaced him as its first vice-chairman. He also was the second ranking member of the Kim Il-sung funeral committee in 1994, immediately beneath Kim Jong-il. He was also the last surviving Politburo Presidium member along with the new leader.

O died of lung cancer in 1995, a year after Kim Il-sung.[2] He received medical treatment in France. When he died, Kim Jong-il left the minister’s position vacant for more than seven months before naming a new minister, Choi Kwang.

He was one of three military officers in the North Korean Armed Forces who reached rank of Marshal with the title "Marshal of the Korean People's Army" .

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kim Jong Il. Short Biography.
  2. ^ WuDunn, Sheryl (February 25, 1995). "O Jin U, the Defense Minister Of North Korea, Is Dead at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  • Bradly K. Martin. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: A History of North Korea and the Kim Dynasty. :61–62

External links[edit]

  • "O Jin U". Private Institute for Korean Studies in Japan. Retrieved 2008-02-03. [dead link]
Political offices
Preceded by
Choe Hyon
Minister of People's Armed Forces
1976–1995
Succeeded by
Choe Kwang
Preceded by
Kim Jong-il
First Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission
1993–1995
Vacant
Title next held by
Jo Myong-rok
Military offices
Preceded by
Director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Choe Kwang
Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army
1968–1979
Succeeded by
O Kuk-ryol
Preceded by
Director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army
1979–1995
Succeeded by
Jo Myong-rok