Jon Hui Jong (1930-2020)

Photo: Yonhap file photo

Jon Hui Jong (Chon Hu’i-cho’ng), a career diplomat and former chief protocol officer for Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, passed away on 20 September (Sunday).  He held a number of diplomatic positions in countries with whom the DPRK had close ties and/or providing significant security cooperation.

Jon’s first diplomatic position was as Charge d’Affaires (ad interim) at the DPRK Embassy in Cambodia in 1968.  In 1973, he served as Charge d’Affaires in Zaire (currently known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) and was part of a team that worked to establish diplomatic relations with Angola.  Jon returned to his home country during the late 1970s and most likely held a senior position in the Foreign Ministry.  He was elected a member of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Committee during the 6th Party Congress in October 1980.

Jon Hui Jong served as a director-general in the Foreign Ministry from 1980 to 1982.  In 1982 he was appointed head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Ku’msusan Assembly Hall (Presidential Office).  He was elected a deputy to the 8th and 9th Supreme People’s Assemblies.  During the late 1990s he became the head of protocol in Kim Jong Il’s Personal Secretariat.

Jon was part of a small cohort of core elites in the Personal Secretariat who were transferred to other positions during the early 2000s.  He was appointed DPRK Ambassador to Egypt and became nonresident ambassador in Cyprus and Yemen.  Jon was tied to defense industry contracts and weapons sales in the latter country.  In 2006, Jon Hui Jong was appointed Foreign Affairs Department Director under the National Defense Commission [NDC], a cover position for his actual job as Kim Jong Il’s chief of protocol.  He was a routine fixture at state events that KJI attended.

Jon Hui Jong was elected a member of the KWP Central Committee during the 3rd Party Conference on 28 September 2010.  He accompanied Kim Jong Il on his three visits to PRC during 2010-2011 and his August 2011 visit to Russia.  Jon was removed from office on the second day that the North Korean leadership received mourners at KJI’s funeral parlor and was replaced by Kim Chang Son.

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