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Pak, Song-chol (Pak Seong-cheol) 1913- 2008

Pak Seong-cheol was a former guerrilla fighter in Manchuria in the 1930s and was North Korean prime minister in the 1970s.


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PAK SEONG-CHEOL (1912-2008). A former guerrilla fighter in Manchuria in the 1930s, Pak was briefly Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) prime minister in the 1970s. He was born in North Hamgyeong Province but appears to have attended school in Manchuria, where he became active in the guerrilla movement in about 1936. Like others, his group was forced to go to the Soviet Union under Japanese military pressure. He re-turned to Korea with the Soviet forces after the defeat of the Japanese in 1945 and seems to have always been aligned with KimIl Seong. In August 1948, he was chief of staff of the Third Division of the Korean People’s Army and commanded the 15th Division during the Korean War. After the end of the war, he was briefly director general of the police bureau of the DPRK Ministry of National Security, but in 1954 was successively minister and then ambassador to Bulgaria. On his return, he took up posts in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) Central Committee’s Department of International Affairs. He was a delegate to the Supreme People’s Assembly from 1957, and he remained a delegate until his death.

Pak was appointed minister for foreign affairs in 1959, and was also a member of the Central Committee of the KWP’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. He became an alternate member of the KWP Central Committee in June 1964 and a full member in October 1966, when he was also appointed a vice premier. In the early 1970s, he played an important role in the development of links between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK), acting as co-chair to the North–South Political Coordinating Committee. He visited the ROK in December 1972 in this role to hold talks with ROK President Park Chung Hee. In April 1976, he became premier, but only held the post for a short period before becoming a vice president in December 1977, a post he held until he became an honorary vice chair of the SPA in September 1998. Pak became a Hero of the Republic in 1992 and received the Order of Kim Il Sung in 1993.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, by James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).

Popular Documents

November 11, 1965

Record of Second Conversation of Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi with Foreign Minister Pak Seong-cheol

Chen Yi, Zhou Enlai, Pak Seong-cheol, and Ri Ju-yeon have a detailed conversation about the situations in Indonesia, Algeria, Uganda, Mali, Guinea, and members of the Third World.

September 7, 1960

Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 7 September 1960

Puzanov and Kim Il Sung review their positions on the Korean issue at the 15th UN General Assembly Session. Kim Il Sung also reports on his industrial inspection of South Hamgyong Province.

January 20, 1980

Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 12, 1980, 057016, Secret

A description of North Korea's economic and industrial growth and its viewpoint on the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung Hee.

April 16, 1969

From the Journal of N.G. Sudarikov, 'Record of a Conversation with Pak Seong-cheol, Member of the KWP CC Politburo, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, and DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs'

Sudarikov updates Pak Seong-cheol on the US and South Korean reactions following the shootdown of the American airplane. Pak Seong-cheol says that the DPRK should not forgive this imperialistic enemy.

April 20, 1960

Journal of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 20 April 1960

Pak Gwang-seon discusses the growing protest movement in South Korea, while Pak Seong-cheol and Puzanov exchange opinions on the causes of the political turmoil in the ROK.