North Korean veteran statesman Ri Yong Mu dies aged 97

Saturday, January 29, 2022

North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported yesterday that high-ranking political and military official Ri Yong-mu died of acute myocardial infarction on Thursday morning at age 97.

Ri held positions in the State Inspection Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the Traffic Commission and in the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army (KPA). Ri also held for almost 20 years the position of vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission, according to the Rodong Sinmun.

The paper described Ri as being "a revolutionary soldier loyal to President Kim Il-sung and Chairman Kim Jong-il and a veteran revolutionary who lived a worthwhile life under the great trust and care of the respected Comrade Kim Jong-un". The article continued by qualifying his work as "feats [...] performed with total dedication to the [Workers' Party of Korea] and the revolution [that] will be remembered long by our people and the officers and men of the People's Army".

State-run radio Voice of Korea reported that current leader Kim Jong-un visited the grave of the deceased, expressing "deep condolences on the occasion of his demise". Senior Party and KPA officials Jo Yong-won, Kim Tok-hun, Pak Jong-chon, Ri Il-hwan, Ri Yong-gil and Kwon Yong-jin accompanied leader Kim to Ri Yong-mu's grave. Voice of Korea described Ri as being "a precious revolutionary comrade who made strenuous efforts for the strengthening and development of the Party, state and revolutionary armed forces until the last moment of his life".

A Yonhap News Agency article reported Ri Yong-mu was awarded the Order of Kim Il-sung in 1992, the Order of Kim Jong-il in 2012. Ri was also a recipient of the honorary title Hero of the Republic.