Cho, Myong-nok / Jo Myung Rok
Director General of the General Political Bureau (Vice Marshal)
Jo Myung Rok was appointed as the Director General of the General Political Bureauin October 1995. He is a second-generation revolutionary who started his military career in the Air Force. He succeeded O Kuk Ryol as the Air Force Commander in 1979, following O's promotion to Chief of General Staff. Between then and his appointment as the Director General of the General Political Bureau in October 1995, Jo devoted his career to building the capabilities of the Air Force and orchestrating the introduction of the MIG aircraft.
He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Korean Worker's Party and a member of the KWP Central Military Commission in October 1980. He served as a member of the Supreme People's Assembly from the 7-10th Assemblies. In October 1995, he was promoted to the rank of Vice Marshal, and assumed the first Vice-Chairmanship of the National Defense Commission in September 1998, a position that has been greatly expanded during the leadership change.
He was known to be one of the most trusted of Kim Jong Il's right-hand men. He was seen accompanying Kim on 15 of the 16 trips Kim made to visit military units during 1997.
He had a reputation as a 'Mr. Clean, and is both principled and hardworking.
In October 2000, he visited the U.S. as a special envoy of Kim Jong Il, for talks with President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
He actively involved himself in external activities: He was confirmed to have attended a banquet given by the National Defense Commission to receive a Chinese Communist Party delegation in March 2001.
By 2010 Jo Myung-rok was said to be 82 years old and actually sick, but still officially maintaining his position. In June 2010 Jang was appointed to the position of Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission, the second most powerful position in the country. He replaced Jo Myung Bok, until the North Korea's top military commander.
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