DPRK updates constitution and declares self “nuclear power”

UPDATE 1 (2012-6-14): The Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) has published an article on the DPRK’s constitutional revisions:

North Korea’s official web portal, Naenara, or “My country” released the entire text of the DPRK’s Constitution, which was amended on April 13 by the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA).

According to the amended Constitution, the constitution is now referred to as the “Kim Il Sung–Kim Jong Il Constitution.” It was formerly known as the “Kim Il Sung Constitution.” The preamble also includes the achievements of Kim Jong Il, crediting him with making North Korea a nuclear power.

The amended preamble eulogizes Kim Jong Il as a “patriot without parallel who exalted the dignity of our people and our national power to supreme status.”

It also credits Kim Jong Il with turning “our motherland into an ever-victorious power of political thought, a nuclear power and an invincible military power and opened a great, brilliant path to the construction of a powerful and prosperous nation.”

It added, “In the midst of the collapse of world socialism and the wicked attacks of the imperialist alliance, Kim Jong Il gloriously defended the noble socialist inheritance of comrade Kim Il Sung with military-first politics, turning our nation into an invincible political ideological state, nuclear-armed state and undefeatable militarily strong state, and paving the glorious way to the construction of the strong and prosperous state.”

The amended Constitution extols Kim Il Sung’s and Kim Jong Il’s accomplishments and particularly emphasized the success of two nuclear tests leading to the country’s rise as a nuclear power.

The renamed “Kim Il Sung–Kim Jong Il Constitution” emphasized the lineage of Mount Paektu passed on from Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and finally on to Kim Jong Un.

In the Constitution, Section 1 of Chapter 6 (State Organs) on the Supreme People’s Assembly included the provision of the title “Chairman of the National Defense Commission” to “First Chairman of the National Defense Commission.”

In the same chapter, Article 107 of Section 2 states, “The National Defense Commission consists of First Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and members.” Previously, it stated that the NDC consisted of the Chairman, First Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chairmen, and members.

In addition, Article 91 states the powers of the SPA which include the authority to “elect or recall the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (Clause 5) and “elect or recall Vice-Chairman and members of the National Defense Commission on the recommendations of the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (Clause 7).

ORIGINAL POST (2012-5-31): Although as of 2012-6-14 the English-language version of the Naenara web page has not been updated, at the end of May, the Korean-language version of the Naenara web page was updated with the latest version of the North Korean constitution.

You can read the Google Translate version of the preamble at this web page.  The translation is not great, but it is readable.

Paragraph eight of the preamble is the section drawing the most media attention:

김정일동지께서는 세계사회주의체계의 붕괴와 제국주의련합세력의 악랄한 반공화국압살공세속에서 선군정치로 김일성동지의 고귀한 유산인 사회주의전취물을 영예롭게 수호하시고 우리 조국을 불패의 정치사상강국, 핵보유국, 무적의 군사강국으로 전변시키시였으며 강성국가건설의 휘황한 대통로를 열어놓으시였다.

Chris Green at the Daily NK translates it this way:

“In the midst of the collapse of world socialism and the wicked attacks of the imperialist alliance,” the most notable phrase declares, “Kim Jong Il gloriously defended the noble socialist inheritance of comrade Kim Il Sung with military-first politics, turning our nation into an invincible political ideological state, nuclear-armed state and undefeatable militarily strong state, and paving the glorious way to the construction of the strong and prosperous state.”

Chris Green also notes:

It has been revealed that last month’s Supreme People’s Assembly session in Pyongyang, the event which saw Kim Jong Il enshrined as eternal chairman of the National Defense Commission and Kim Jong Eun elevated to 1st chairman of the same body, also saw North Korea amend the ‘Socialist Constitution of the DPRK’. Most controversially, the revised constitution declares North Korea to be a nuclear-armed state.

[…]

Elsewhere, pre-existing clauses have been lightly amended to include reference to Kim Jong Il alongside his father. For example, the opening sentence of the preamble now states, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the socialist motherland of Juche which has applied the idea and leadership of great leader comrade Kim Il Sung and great leader comrade Kim Jong Il.” The pre-existing sentence ended on the words “Kim Il Sung.”

The Hankyoreh notes:

Pyongyang’s decision to list itself as a nuclear state indicates that it has no intention of giving up its nuclear program. The North Korean regime apparently has not been deterred by the possibility of an international dispute, given Washington and Seoul’s refusal to recognize its right to nuclear arms.

A government official said, “With North Korea officially stating its possession of nuclear capabilities in its Constitution, denuclearization is looking even less likely. All this has done is fan apprehensions in other concerned nations.” Other analysts suggested the move was intended by domestic political concerns, specifically to legitimize Kim Jong-un as ruler.

Yonhap reports that the US has declared that it will never recognize the DPRK as a nuclear state. South Korea said much the same thing.

 

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