Together with Korean Worker’s Party Secretary Jon Pyong-ho, senior
statesman Kim Chol-man is leading North Korea’s munitions industry,
the basis of the country’s economy.
In 1937, he joined Kim Il-sung’s guerillas along with Ri Ul-sol,
who later took over the General Bureau of Security Guards, and Kim
Ik-hyon, who took over the People’s Security Guards. After Korea’s
1945 liberation from Japanese rule, he served as senior colonel
of the 10th Division and was later promoted to major general in
1955 and lieutenant general in 1962. In 1964, he was made strategy
director of the People’s Defense Bureau. The next year, he became
commander of the 2nd Corps and went on to serve as deputy commander-in-chief
of the People’s Army and commander-in-chief.
Though he was in danger after a 1969 purge of militarists, he survived
the crisis unscathed. In the 1980 convention of the Korean Workers’
Party, he was named a cadre candidate of the political bureau of
the party’s Central Committee’s and a cadre of the Military Committee.
In 1998, he was named general and head of the munitions and mobilization
bureau and a year afterwards, supervised military finances as chairman
of the 2nd Economic Committee.
Known as a stout and rough-edged man, Kim is known to still suffer
from physical wounds from the Korean War.