Park Sung Cheol, former member of the Politburo of the Chosun (North Korea) Workers’ Party, holder of many top governmental posts and the vice-chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, has passed away at the age of 95, according to the Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA).
The KCNA reported on the 28th that the cause of death was chronic disease brought about by old age.
Park who was born in Gyeongju, in North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, began participating in guerrilla activities with Kim Il Sung against the Japanese colonial government in 1936. After the liberation of Korea in 1945, he went on to become the division commander of No. 15 Division, Director of the Intelligence Bureau of the Ministry of National Security, Ambassador to Bulgaria, Director of the International Affairs Department, Foreign Minister, member of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, Premier of the Administration Council and the Vice-Chairman of North Korea.
He ranked fifth in the national funeral commission for Kim Il Sung’s funeral in 1994 and fourth in the Oh Jin Woo national funeral commission. He stepped back from the political front-line when he was appointed honorary vice-chairman of Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly in 1998.
As Second Vice-Premier of the Cabinet, he visited Seoul and unofficially met President Park Jung Hee in December, 1972, acting as substitute for Director of the Guidance Department Kim Young Ju, who was the North’s Chairman of the South-North Coordination Committee, as organized according to the July 4 Joint Statement.
Further to which, as the opposite number to the South Korean Director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency Lee Hu Rak, he participated in the meetings of the South-North joint Coordination Committee from the first to third round of meetings in 1972.
North Korea is to hold a state funeral on Thursday morning, led by a national funeral commission consisting of 65 cadres including the First Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission Cho Myung Rok, Premier of the North Korea Cabinet Kim Young Il and others from the Party, the Korean People’s Army and the Cabinet.
According to the North Korean media, Kim Jong Il offered floral tributes in mourning. Kim Jong Il publicly appeared at the funeral of Kim Il Sung, Oh Jin Woo and the former Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission Yeon Hyung Mook, so whether or not he appears at the funeral of Park will be of great international interest.
The KCNA praised Park, saying that, “Comrade Park Sung Cheol was a faithful revolutionary who devoted his whole life to the liberation of both nation and class, the establishment of a socialist state and the pursuit of the fatherland’s independent unification.”