N.Korea’s Kang Sok-ju Appointed to NDC

Choson Ilbo (Hat Tip DPRK Studies)
6/18/2007

North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju, who is in responsible for Pyongyang’s diplomatic affairs including the nuclear issue, was in May made a member of the ruling National Defense Commission (NDC) led by dictator Kim Jong-il, Russian sources said Sunday.

The sources said Kim appointed Kang to the leadership body to strengthen his power base, with the move seen as ensuring the NDC holds sway over the military as well as domestic and foreign affairs.

Kang has served as the First Vice Foreign Minister since 1986 and is known as the only foreign ministry official who can directly advise Kim. He was a signer of the 1994 Geneva Accords between the U.S. and North Korea and the leader of Pyongyang’s representatives in the six-nation talks. Kang recently visited Moscow for treatment of a cataract.

The sources also said that General Lee Myung-soo, who was the North Korean military’s director of operations, has been made an organizer in the NDC.

The NDC currently consists of the country’s nine most powerful leaders, including Kim who serves as the body’s head, Vice Marshal Cho Myong Rok, who is Kim’s special envoy, Vice Marshal Kim Young-choon, General Rhee Yong-mu, General Kim Il-cheol and Secretary Chun Byung-ho.

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