(also Kim Chak). Born Aug. 14, 1903, in Hak-song district (now Kimchaek district), Hamgyong-Pukto province; died Jan. 31,1951. Korean political and military figure. Son of a poor peasant. Joined the Communist Party of Korea in 1925.
In 1932, Kim Chaek became a leader of the Korean partisan movement in northeastern China and northern Korea, which was directed against the Japanese occupiers. In 1947–48 he was deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of North Korea and, at the same time, head of the Department of Defense. In September 1948 he became deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and minister of industry of the Korean Democratic People’s Republic (KDPR). He was a member of the Political Council of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. In 1950, during the Korean war (1950–53) against the American interventionists and their South Korean accomplices, Kim Chaek was appointed a member of the Military Committee of the KDPR and commander in chief of a front. The city of Songjin was renamed Kimchaek in his memory.