Name   Ri Jong-hyok
Sex   Male
Date of Birth   October 30, 1936
Place of Birth   Kangwon Province
Posts Held Vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, deputy chief of the Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, director of the Research Institute for Reunification, member of the 10th and 11th Supreme People’s Assemblies
Claim to Fame Expert in relations with South Korea
Education Bachelor’s in history from Kim Il Sung University, bachelor’s in French from University of International Affairs (Pyongyang)
Profile Ri Jong-hyok is the youngest son of Ri Ki-yong, a renowned novelist who went to North Korea shortly after Korea’s liberation from Japan and became president of the (North) Korean Writers’ Association.

Ri Jong-hyok is an expert on relations with South Korea and was a classmate of Kim Jong-il at Kim Il Sung University. He assumed a supervisory position in 1964 on the preservation of tangible cultural properties. Ten years later, he was appointed to a culture position, and in 1976, he moved to the North’s France office for the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In 1985, he was the North’s chief delegate to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. Despite his extensive career in international diplomacy, he switched his focus in the 1990s to inter-Korean relations. Taking over as senior councilor of the Unification Policy Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, he was later appointed vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee in 1994. A year later, he was named deputy chief of the Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and in 1997 took over the Research Institute for Reunification.

Thanks to his overseas assignments, Lee is fluent in English and French and also speaks a bit of German, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

Sources say he is intelligent and shrewd in identifying key issues, with rational argumentative ability being his greatest strength.