Chief architect of North Korea's nuclear weapons program General Jon Pyong-ho dies at 88

Chief architect of North Korea's nuclear weapons program General Jon Pyong-ho dies at 88

Chief architect of North Korea's nuclear weapons program General Jon Pyong-ho dies at 88

Updated 9 July 2014, 14:00 AEST

Retired military General Jon Pyong-ho, chief architect of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and individually named target of international sanctions, has died.

Retired military General Jon Pyong-ho, chief architect of North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program and individually named target of international sanctions, has died.

General Jon died of a heart attack on Tuesday at the age of 88, according to the state-run KCNA news agency.

He will be given a state funeral, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un leading the funeral committee.

General Jon was a close adviser of the late leader Kim Jong-il and was an instrumental part of North Korea's nuclear program, managing North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006.

He supervised the supervised the development of medium-range ballistic missiles in the 1990s, and offered the designs to Pakistan in exchange for detailed information on gas centrifuge technology and uranium enrichment.

In 2008 and 2009 Jon supervised the North's second major long-range missile test and its second nuclear test.

He had been Chief Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party, and was a member of the National Defence Commission.

US intelligence reports he was a key figure in the North's international weapons trade that involved shipping components for long-range missiles, nuclear reactors and conventional arms to countries including Iran, Syria and Myanmar.

He was individually named in sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations, United States and European Union.

The announcement of his death came as North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

AFP