The Honorable Madame Choe Son-hui has been a topic of conversation among Pyongyang elites lately. She has been on the news as the vice-Minister and Chief of US Desk in the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The buzz is about who her real father is, and Choe Hyon’s name comes up. The elites are surprised to learn after all these years that Choe Hyon had a hidden daughter. People know Choe Hyon as the father of Choe Ryong-hae, considered to be the second most powerful man in North Korea as the Director of KWP Organizational Guidance Department.
Choe Hyon (1907-1982) was a fellow commando of Kim Il-sung during the Partisan days, and Commander of the KPA 2nd Army during the Korean War. He later served as the Minister of Defence from 1972 to 1976.
His wife, by the name of Kim Chol-ho, also fought alongside Kim Il-sung as a member of Partisan commandoes. If word had gotten out that Choe Hyon had a daughter with another woman outside his marriage, the news would have upset the fellow Partisan commandoes.
Having sired a daughter at age 57, Choe Hyon consulted with his close friend and boss Kim Il-sung in secret. Kim Il-sung instructed Choe Young-lim to raise the girl as his own. Choe Young-lim was then the Director of the [North] Korea Worker’s Party (KWP) Organizational Guidance Department. He didn’t have any children.
Choe Young-lim, following his graduation from ManGyongDae Academy, had gone to Moscow University. He joined the KWP Organizational Guidance Department, then held a variety of posts, such as Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Kim Il-sung’s Duty Secretary, Director of Central Prosecution Office, Pyongyang City Duty Secretary, Premier of the Cabinet of the DPRK, and currently is a member of KWP Political Bureau Operational Committee.
Choe Young-lim was born in Jilin Province Jangan-gu Buheung village on November 20, 1930, and married Ryo Kyong-sook on June 29, 1958. She did not have any children.
Choe Hyon, who had not received any formal education, wanted the best possible education for his daughter and asked Kim Il-sung to send her to good schools in Switzerland, France, and Moscow.
Choe Son-hui, born in Pyongyang Joong-ku Kyoku-dong in 1964, married Han Yong-kwon, a military commander, on March 6, 1992. She lives with her husband in Pyongyang at an apartment allocated to Choe Young-lim under Inminban #55, in Nakwon-dong, Botonggang-ku.
The upshot of the ongoing buzz in Pyongyang is that Choe Son-hui shares the same father as Choe Ryong-hae. Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father, is known to have held a meeting once and introduced Choe Son-hui and Choe Ryong-hae to each other as brother and sister.