Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 11-03-15
Recently, Paek Ryong Chon was appointed as the new President of the Central Bank of the DPRK. Paek is known as the third son of late Paek Nam Sun, the former Foreign Minister of the DPRK.
According to the DPRK’s official news agency KCNA, a national meeting of commercial officials was held at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang on March 7, 2011. The list of attendees at this event included Paek Ryong Chon as the President of the Central Bank.
The senior Paek served as the Foreign Minister of the DPRK from 1998 to 2007 before he passed away in January 2007. His third son, Paek Ryong Chon, 49, made his public political appearances at the North-South Premier Talks and the Joint Committee for Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation meetings in Seoul on December 2007 as a department director of the Secretariat of the Cabinet.
Previously, he visited South Korea as a part of the North Korean delegation in 2002 at the first working-level talks of inter-Korean economic cooperation and again in June 2006 for the Inter-Korean Joint Event held in Kwangju.
The Central Bank was established in 1946 and is responsible for issuing bank notes, currency control and regulating other banks. The Central Bank also operates as a savings and insurance institution that provides services for the general population of North Korea through regional branch offices.
Paek’s new appointment is believed to be largely in consideration for the late foreign minister, Paek Nam Sun.
Meanwhile, Ryang Ui Gyong was appointed as the Chairman of the State Price Commission, which was formerly known as the State Price Bureau.
The KCNA made a referral to Ryang Ui Gyong as the Chairman of the State Price Commission in a recent report on a national meeting of commercial officials.
Not much is known about Ryang. He is speculated to have built his career in the State Price Bureau as a technocrat.
The State Price Commission is responsible for the price control of agricultural and industrial prices and wage systems, calculating the living costs for the people. The recent upgrade from a bureau to a commission is analyzed by many experts as North Korea’s move toward stronger price control policy to stabilize prices.
The Commission is also in charge of regulating import and export prices twice a year. This is evaluated as an attempt to prevent imports from being imported at a higher price and exports from being exported at a lower price than the international market average.
In the past, the State Planning Commission and the State Science and Technology Commission were the two main commissions in North Korea. However, since June 2010, the number of commissions has risen to five, a result of the reorganization of the Ministry of Education to Education Commission, the Joint Venture and Investment Guidance Bureau to the Committee of Investment and Joint Ventures, and the State Price Bureau to the State Price Commission.