Kim Yong-il Elected North Korean Premier

Korea Times
Lee Jin-woo
North Korea’s legislature on Wednesday elected Transport Minister Kim Yong-il as the country’s new premier, the North’s state-controlled news agency reported.

He replaces Pak Pong-ju who has been accused of embezzling some of the national budget, the report said.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim was elected as the new premier in a plenary session of the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), a rubber-stamp legislature of the Stalinist state.

Kim, 62, rose to his position after starting his bureaucratic career as a rank-and-filer in the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport. He is known to have expert knowledge in economic affairs.

He accompanied North Korean leader Kim Jong-il twice in 2005 on trips to government facilities, and led a delegation of ministry officials to China, Cuba and Syria over the last seven years. He visited Syria in 2005 to conclude a maritime transport agreement.

After graduating from Rajin University of Marine Transport, he served in the military for nine years beginning in 1961. He has served in the minister post for more than 10 years since the early 1990s.

The SPA also tapped Kim Yong-chun, chief of general staff of the Korean People’s Army, as the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC), a position that has been vacant since the death of Yon Hyong-muk in October 2005.

The SPA, which convenes once or twice a year at irregular intervals, is headed by Kim Yong-nam, the official president of the Presidium of the SPA. He also serves as the titular head of the communist state.


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