CIA publishes 2008 “DPRK who’s who”

UPDATE: The South Korean Ministry of Unifications offers a more comprehensive organization chart of North Korea’s various political organs. I should point out that this is a dejure (not defacto) organizational chart.

(Hat tip to Mike Madden for the link)

After the ministerial shakeups in the DPRK were discovered last week, the US Central Intelligence Agency updated their list of DPRK VIPs.  It will come as no surprise that Kim Jong il managed to maintain control of his three titles: General Secretary Korean Workers’ Party, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, and Chairman of the National Defence Commission.

The full list can be viewed on the CIA’s web page here


10 Responses to “CIA publishes 2008 “DPRK who’s who””

  1. Baltimoron says:

    Where’s Jang Song-taek?

  2. Jung Noh says:

    is there any differences than before?

  3. NKeconWatch says:

    Baltimoron: I was wondering the same thing myself. My suspicion is that Jang and a number of other influential policymakers are not on the list primarily because it is composed only of “state” positions—i.e. it does not include the top shelf Worker’s Party or Korean People’s Army cadres.

    Jung: This list was updated this month in response to recent DPRK personnel changes:

  4. Mike Madden says:

    Jang Sung taek is never included in this list. Curtis is right: Mr. Jang’s positions are within the Korean Workers’ Party, not the government. Mr. Jang might be an SPA deputy, like his wife Kim Kyong hui. Then again, he could have lost his SPA seat when he was disappeared (or took a sabbatical) from 2004-2006.

    Curtis also made an excellent point about how military officials of the Korean People’s Army are listed or not listed. The KPA’s representation in the DPRK Cabinet comes in the person of Kim Il chol, KPA General and head of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, as well as the form of the National Defense Commission.

  5. Mike Madden says:

    Kim Jong il was the last known Director of the Department of Organization and Guidance of the KWP, part of the portfolio of government and party offices he holds. It is an office Gen. Kim to which he was appointed when he became Kim il Sung’s designated successor in 1974, and the position has historically been the most influential position in the DPRK (Kim il Sung’s only brother held the job in the 1960s). In that thirty four year tenure, has transferred the functions of the department director to trusted subordinates.

    Jang Sung taek is currently identified by the Korean Central News Agency as a department director (this is the last known department where he was working), which means he may have been promoted to director of Organization and Guidance (which would confirm other accounts such as that Mr. Jang has become the most powerful person in the DPRK) or Mr. Jang holds a co-directorship with Gen. Kim.

    Selig Harrison told both the International Herald-Tribune and the Washington Post on 18 January 2008 that the word on the street in Pyongyang is that while Gen. Kim is still the boss, he does not maintain the day-to-day role he once held. This may or may not indicate something about Jang Sung taek’s status.

    For background purposes; an Organization and Guidance Department in a command and control system such as the DPRK, where the party and party membership (with its degrees and levels) establish one’s status in public life, is the most powerful organ in the economy and government. It grants and regulates party membership and essentially functions as a large human resources department. The Organization and Guidance Department of the KWP has many different offices and agencies including Membership Registration, Inspection, Local Affairs Guidance, Party Life Guidance and Cadre Party Personnel. First Vice Department Directors of the Organization and Guidance Department are the most influential members of the government of the DPRK, including the military. It has immediate jurisdiction over military and party executive officers, whose appoints they approve or reject.

    Since his return to the Organization and Guidance Department in 2005/6 Jang Sung taek currently holds the People’s Safety Agency, State Security Department, and the Central Prosecutor and Central Court in his jurisdiction. The so-called rival to Mr. Jang is the 77 year old Ri Je Gang. Mr. Ri’s constituency is the Korean People’s Army, having supervision over the Central Military Committee, the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces and the KWP General Political Bureau of the KPA. Among their administrative tasks, Jang and Ri appoint, promote and dismiss the senior and midlevel officers of the KWP committees who constitute the leadership of government and military agencies and departments.