Korea Platform Special Session with Mr. Hwang Jang-yop

March 31, 2010 • 8:00 – 10:00 pm EDT

The CSIS Korea Chair had the distinguished privilege of hosting Former DPRK Workers Party Foreign Affairs Secretary Hwang Jang-yop's first public event in the U.S. The session was chaired by CSIS Trustee and Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and moderated by CSIS Senior Adviser and Korea Chair Victor Cha.

Mr. Hwang is the highest level official to have defected from North Korea. Until his defection in 1997, he played a central role in the North Korean government, serving for four decades as a close aide to both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. He has resided in South Korea since then and has been one of the most insightful voices on the North Korean regime, its internal dynamics, and its foreign policy.

Following the session, the Office of the Korea Chair and CSIS CEO John Hamre hosted a dinner for Mr. Hwang and guests at the Metropolitan Club.

Hwang Jang-yop Biography

Hwang Jang-yop is largely credited with the development of the juche ideology in the 1950’s.

He was a professor of philosophy at Kim Il-sung University and was one of Kim Jong Il’s professors there. Hwang later became the university’s president in 1965.

In 1958, he became the secretary in the Secretariat of the Workers Party General Secretary. From 1972 to 1983, he served as the Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly. In 1979, he concurrently became the secretary of the Workers Party in charge of science education and the president of the Juche Ideology Research Institute. In 1984, he became the secretary of the Workers Party in charge of foreign affairs. In the late 1980’s, he was the president of the Party History Research Institute as well as the secretary of the Workers Party in charge of the Office of Documents.

Then, in 1993, Hwang once again stepped into the position of secretary of the Workers Party in charge of foreign affairs and also became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly. He would later become the director of the International Juche Ideology Foundation in 1995.

While returning from a trip to Tokyo, Hwang Jang-yop, along with his aide, entered the South Korean Embassy in Beijing on February 12, 1997 and requested political asylum. They have now been living in South Korea since April 1997.

In South Korea, Hwang has held the position of chairman of the Unification Policy Research Institute and has authored over twelve monographs. He now contributes to the Daily NK.

Victor Cha
Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair