North Korea Death of the former speaker of parliament

North Korea: Death of the former speaker of parliament

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid his respects on Sunday in front of the coffin of the country's former parliament speaker Choe Thae-bok, who died at the age of 93, official media reported.

According to the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, Choe Thae-bok died of a heart attack on Saturday.

The North Korean leader attended the former parliament speaker's memorial service at dawn on Sunday along with representatives of the ruling Workers' Party to “express his deep condolences,” the daily said.

“Kim Jong-un tacitly paid tribute to Choe Thae-bok, who made remarkable achievements in the holy struggle for the development of the Workers' Party of Korea and the government of the DPRK,” the article added, using the acronym of the official name North Korea.

The newspaper described the deceased as “a revolutionary fighter loyal to President Kim Il-sung and leader Kim Jong-il,” the grandfather and father of North Korea's current No. 1.

Choe Thae-bok, who was elected speaker of the Supreme People's Assembly in 1998 and held the position until his retirement in 2019, is considered the longest-serving speaker of the North Korean parliament.

According to NK Leadership Watch, a website specializing in North Korean personalities, he was fluent in German, Russian and English and traveled abroad regularly.

The website adds that Mr Choe had close ties to Kim Kyong-hui, the once-influential aunt of Kim Jong-un but whose husband Jang Song-thaek was executed in 2013. He is described as an “intelligent man with an optimistic and cheerful personality.”

His last public appearance was at an event celebrating North Korea's founding day on September 9, 2022.