Choe Yong-rim

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Choe Yong-rim
11th Premier of North Korea
In office
7 June 2010 – 1 April 2013
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Preceded byKim Yong-il
Succeeded byPak Pong-ju
Personal details
Born (1930-11-20) 20 November 1930 (age 89)[1]
Ryanggang, Japanese Korea Japanese Empire
(now North Korea)[2][a]
Political partyWorkers' Party of Korea
Alma materKim Il-sung University
Moscow State University
Choe Yong-rim
Revised RomanizationChoe Yeong(-)rim
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Yŏngrim
(South Korean: Choe Yŏngnim)

Choe Yong-rim (Korean최영림, born 20 November 1930)[7] is a North Korean politician. He was the Premier of North Korea from June 2010 to April 2013[8] and Workers' Party of Korea central committee presidium member since September 2010.[9] He has been described by The New York Times as a "KWP insider" and a "friend of Kim Jong-Il's family."[10] He is honorary vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's parliament.


Choe Yong-rim joined the Korean People's Army in July 1950.[9] He attended Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, Kim Il-sung University, and Moscow University. Qualifying as an electrical engineer, he has held various offices since the 1950s,[2] including: instructor, section chief, vice-department director, first vice-department director and department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and chief secretary of the Secretaries Office of the Kumsusan Assembly Hall. He has also held posts of vice-premier of the Administration Council, director of the Central Public Prosecutors Office and secretary general of the SPA Presidium.[9]

From 11 April 2005 to July 2009, he was secretary general (sŏgijang) of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, succeeding Kim Yunhyŏk.[11]

Choe was appointed chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2009, taking a post left unoccupied for nine years since his predecessor Kang Hyun-su's death in 2000.[12] He left the post when he was elected Premier of North Korea on 7 June 2010 at the 3rd Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly.

Seen as an instrumental element in Kim Jong-il's succession process, Choe was elected member of the 5-members Politburo Presidium of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea at the Party Conference held in September 2010.

Choe's adoptive daughter Choe Son-hui is a vice minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[13]


Choe succeeded Kim Yong-il as premier during a rare second parliamentary session in 2010.

It was speculated that Kim was ousted partly because of the failed currency reforms which took place in early 2010. According to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, he reportedly apologized publicly for the mishaps before stepping down.[10][14] Kim's departure and Choe's elevation coincided with the dismissal of various other ministers in the cabinet who were ostensibly blamed for the failed reforms. The event was seen by analysts as achieving two purposes: settling public outcry over the currency valuation fiasco and engineering a political climate more favourable towards the succession of Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader's youngest son.[10]

In February 2011, the North Korean media reported Premier Choe's visit to a construction site. This was the first time the media had reported on a leadership figure other than the Supreme Leader conducting a solo guidance inspection.[15]

At the 7th Session of the 12th SPA on 1 April 2013, Choe was replaced as Premier of North Korea by Pak Pong-ju,[16] as the assembly moved to the new strategy of building the economy and military simultaneously. Choe was given the title of honorary vice-president of the SPA Presidium, with Kim Yong-nam maintained as his supervisor in the President's role of the SPA.


  1. ^ The source used only gives the province “Ryanggang” as Choe's place of birth and does not specify the kun. At the time of Choe's birth, Korea was ruled by Japan (see Korea under Japanese rule) and Ryanggang did not yet exist; it was only formed in 1954 out of 9 kun taken from South Hamgyŏng (Korean: Hamgyŏng namdo; Japanese: Kankyō nandō), 1 kun taken from North Hamgyŏng (H. pukto / K. hokudō) and 1 kun from Chagang, which was itself formed out of mainly North P’yŏngan (P’yŏngan pukto / Heian hokudō) and a bit of South Hamgyŏng territory.


  1. ^ Choe Yong Rim Elected PM. Korean Central News Agency, 7 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b c 최영림 Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine at 북한정보 자료센터. Korea Institute for National Unification. (Korean)
    Includes a list of posts (1956 to October 2008).
  3. ^ 在中国人民志愿军入朝参战56周年之际 Naenara, 26 October 2006 (Mandarin)
  4. ^ Korea Knowledge Portal Archived 9 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine (Korean)
  5. ^ “김국태등 5인방이 ‘核’”. 문화일보 (Korean)
  6. ^ 인물정보 Archived 13 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine (Korean)
  7. ^ Profile of Choe Yong-rim
  8. ^ North Korea in leadership reshuffle. BBC News, 7 June 2011
  9. ^ a b c "Profiles of Presidium and Members of Political Bureau" Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, KCNA, 29 September 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Choe, Sang-hun (7 June 2010). "N. Korea Reshuffle Seen as Part of Succession Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  11. ^ 북한내각명단. DPRKSEARCH (Korean)
  12. ^ Mass Meeting Held to Condemn Anti-DPRK Smear Campaign. Archived 7 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine Korean Central News Agency, 30 May 2010
  13. ^ "Choe Yong Rim". North Korea Leadership Watch. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  14. ^ Demick, Barbara. "North Korea shuffles leadership". LA Times.
  15. ^ "DPRK Premier Visits Huichon Power Plant Construction Site", KCNA, 24 February 2011.
  16. ^ North Korea Leadership Watch, read 17 December 2019.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kang Hyun-su
Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang
Succeeded by
Mun Kyong-dok
Political offices
Preceded by
Kim Yong-il
Premier of North Korea
Succeeded by
Pak Pong-ju