Born June 21, 1900, in Pyonganpukto Province; died September 19, 1976, in Pyongyang. Korean state and political figure.
The son of a peasant, Ch’oe joined the student movement against the Japanese colonialists in 1920; he was arrested the following year and spent two years in prison. In 1923 he emigrated to China, where he joined the Communist Party and took part in the partisan movement against the Japanese militarists in Manchuria.
In 1946 and 1947, Ch’oe was chief of police of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea. From 1948 to 1957 he served as minister of national defense and in 1953 assumed the additional post of deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK). He became a deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly of the PDRK in 1948 and served as chairman of the Presidium of the Assembly from 1957 to 1972. In 1972 he became a member of the Central People’s Committee of the PDRK and was made the country’s vice-president.
From 1946 to 1955, Ch’oe was chairman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of North Korea. In 1955 he became a member of the Central Committee and the Political Committee of the Workers’ Party; he served as deputy chairman of the party’s Central Committee until 1966, when he became the party’s secretary.
Ch’oe was made a vice-marshal of the PDRK in 1953 and was named a Hero of Labor in 1960.