Archive for the ‘Central Miltary Committee’ Category

Worker’s Party regulations revised

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

According ot Yonhap:

In an apparent bid to facilitate its hereditary power succession, North Korea has rewritten major regulations governing its ruling party, allowing its leader-in-waiting to take full control of the state with greater ease, a government source said Thursday.

The revisions were approved at the landmark convention of the top Workers’ Party delegates in September, during which Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-il, rose as a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the source said.

“The revisions paved the way for the Kims to monopolize every part of the North Korean system while making it official that the country is a dynasty,” the source said, asking not to be named because of the intelligence nature of the documents he cited.

North Korea removed a clause that made it mandatory for the party to hold a general convention every five years, the source said. Instead, the party can now elect senior members and revise its regulations just by holding a top delegates’ meeting.

“Another measure that makes it easy for Kim Jong-un to take power is to automatically appoint the party secretary as head of the Central Military Commission,” the source said, adding that the move suggests Kim Jong-un, a four-star general, may be on track to succeeding his father as party secretary.

“This allows Kim Jong-un to control both the party and the military just by rising to the top of the party, the source said.

Kim is believed to be no older than 28. His birthday is this Saturday, Jan. 8.

The Central Military Commission within the party has also been given more power, the source said, as it now “governs all defense and military programs conducted between each party convention.”

The revision signals that the commission may grow more powerful than the National Defense Commission, the highest seat of power headed by Kim Jong-il but not yet joined by Kim Jong-un, he said.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea rewrites party regulations to boost hereditary power succession: source
Sam Kim


Power Restructuring in North Korea

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Ruediger Frank writes in 38 North:

“Finally,” one is tempted to say. The years of speculation and half-baked news from dubious sources are over. The leadership issue in North Korea has been officially resolved. Or has it?

The third delegate’s meeting[1] of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) on September 28, 2010 answered a few questions. Still, it left some unanswered and posed quite a few new ones as well. In the end, Kim Jong Il emerged the undisputed leader. But has his legitimacy become more independent of his father than it used to be? Kim Jong Un has been introduced to the people. Does this mean he is going to succeed Kim Jong Il? Or will he succeed Kim Il Sung? Kim Jong Il’s sister Kim Kyong Hui has been promoted to the rank of general and is part of the party leadership. Is she supposed to support her nephew, or is this part of a strategy to more broadly enhance the family’s power? Her husband Jang Song Thaek is also on board. Will he share the caretaking job with his wife? Are there any other members of the extended Kim family on the team?

The Hard Facts

(1) On Monday, September 27, 2010, Kim Jong Un was mentioned for the first time in official North Korean media when he was promoted to the rank of general. Now, at last, we know for sure how to write his name (we use the official North Korean version for English; it would be Kim Jong-ùn according to McCune/Reischauer).

(2) On the same day, Kim Jong Il’s sister was promoted to the same military rank as her nephew.

(3) On September 28, 2010, one day later, the first delegate’s meeting of the WPK in 44 years and the biggest gathering since the last (Sixth) Party congress in 1980 opened after a mysterious delay. It had originally been announced for “early September.”

(4) Contrary to western media speculation, Kim Jong Il did not step down nor did he hand over any of his powers to his son. Rather, he was confirmed as the current leader of the party, the military, and the country.

(5) From 1945 until 1980, the WPK held six Party Congresses and two conferences or delegate’s meetings. This means that on average, the WPK had one major Party event every 4.4 years. However, over the next 30 years, it had none. The 21st and so far last plenum of the WPK was held in December 1993. Now, the defunct leadership structure of the WPK has been restored and the delegates elected 124 members of the Central Committee (CC) and 105 alternates. From among the members, 17 were named to the Politburo (PB) of the CC, and 15 as alternates.

(6) The Politburo is headed by a Presidium or Standing Committee of five people, with Kim Jong Il at the top as the general secretary of the WPK.[2] It also consists of Kim Yong Nam (82 years old),[3] Choe Yong Rim (80 years old),[4] Jo Myong Rok (82 years old)[5] and Ri Yong Ho (68 years old).[6] The latter was promoted the day before the delegate’s meeting to the post of vice marshal. He ranks above Kim Jong Un and his aunt and is rumored to be a member of the Kim family, which if true, implies a particularly strong base for loyalty. Given the advanced age of most of its members, if the Presidium is not newly elected in a few years, who will remain? This makes Mr. Ri particularly interesting.

(7) All three known close relatives of Kim Jong Il received posts in the WPK. Kim Jong Un became vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (see below). His aunt Kim Kyong Hui became a member of the Politburo and her husband Jang Song Thaek was made an alternate. The names of regular and alternate members were not provided in alphabetical order, indicating a certain hierarchy. Kim Kyong Hui’s name was listed last out of 17 and Jang was 5th out of 15. A day later, he was 14th (out of 15) on a list of short bios of regular and alternate Politburo members. Kim Kyong Hui was the only member in addition to Kim Jong Il for whom no details were provided.

(8) Except for the Central Committee, there is not a single leadership organ where all three close relatives of Kim Jong Il hold a post. Kim Jong Un is excluded from the Politburo altogether; Kim Kyong Hui is not on the Central Military Commission; and Jang Song Thaek is only an alternate Politburo member. We could speculate that Kim Jong Il wants to prevent having too high a concentration of power in the hands of one of his relatives. He has made sure that the most crucial instruments of power are staffed with the most loyal of his followers who will be ready to walk the extra mile and fulfill his strategic decisions with all the energy of a family member and co-owner.

(9) As was expected, Kim Jong Un has not (yet) become a member or an alternate member of the Politburo, the second-highest leading organ of the party, but did receive a high-ranking post in the WPK’s Central Military Commission. As far as we know, this is essentially the organization through which the Party controls the military, and hence the most powerful of the WPK’s organs. It is no coincidence that this commission is chaired by Kim Jong Il himself. His son comes next in the hierarchy—he is the first of the commission’s two vice-chairmen. Jang Song Thaek is a member, too, but the one with the lowest rank, so it seems. His name was listed last out of 19. Kim Kyong Hui is not a member of the Central Military Commission.

(10) On September 29, 2010, an unusually long and detailed KCNA article was published with profiles of all Politburo members. In addition, a large group picture was published that showed the delegates and the complete Central Committee, including Kim Jong Un. The photo rather openly revealed the true hierarchy within the Party leadership; only 19 people were sitting in the front row, the others were standing. Kim Jong Un sat just one space away from his father, while Kim Kyong Hui sat five spaces away from the center. In a KCNA report on the taking of this picture, Kim Jong Un’s name came fourth after the Politburo Presidium members Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim and Ri Yong Ho. Kim Kyong Hui was number 18, and Jang Song Thaek was number 23 on that exclusive list of 33 leaders.

(11) A total of 14 department directors of the Central Committee were appointed, among them Jang Song Thaek and Kim Kyong Hui. However, contrary to predictions by many analysts, Kim Jong Un does not seem to have been appointed director of the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), a post his father held before he was announced as Kim Il Sung’s successor.[7] This could be due to a number of reasons. Either, Kim Jong Un already effectively held that post—we may not know since the last time such positions were given officially was 1980—or the division of labor (and power) within the party has changed, for example in the context of the Military First Policy. In that case, the OGD post may simply not be as important as it used to be. This would imply that the Central Military Commission now makes all the important appointments, and the OGD is merely an administrative unit like any human resources department.

(12) The North Korean media published a message from China’s leader Hu Jintao only a day after the delegate’s meeting. He stressed the deep and traditional friendship, close geographical relationship, and wide-ranging common interests of the two countries. Hu pledged to defend and promote the bilateral relationship, always holding fast to it in a strategic view under the long-term discernment no matter how the international situation may change (KCNA, 29.09.2010). This was a message to the North Korean people and the international community: China is going to support the new North Korean leadership (model).

What Have We Learned?

The Party meeting provided final proof of what has often been doubted since Kim Jong Il took over as leader of North Korea after 1994. All the other things one might say about him notwithstanding, Kim Il Sung undisputedly was an able politician. He did not choose his eldest son Kim Jong Il as his successor by chance. Despite his health problems, Kim Jong Il is (still) able to play the power game. He paved the way for a new leadership without turning himself into a lame duck. He did so by not leaving any important posts to somebody else—although, at the same time, he did not monopolize those positions. He distributed power among a core group of family members and his father’s loyalists, while also ensuring that none of them can be certain to be significantly higher-ranking than any of their colleagues. As in juche, where in the end everything depends on the judgment of the leader, power in North Korea remains Kim’s sole domain. At the same time, he has done what any good CEO does: delegate authority to avoid energy-consuming micro-management of each and every aspect of his job.

The most important decision regarding human resources has been the introduction of Kim Jong Un as a member of the top leadership of the Party and of the military. He will now have to quickly develop a record (at least on paper) of spectacular achievements, so that he can be quickly presented to the people as the most logical and capable candidate for the next leadership post. Since Kim Jong Un was appointed with a clear reference to the military, Kim Jong Il appears to be following the same strategy his father did after 1980. At that time, North Korea analysts noticed that the late O Jin U, the top military official, was always standing close to Kim Jong Il. It would now be logical to expect that like his father before him, Kim Jong Un will be responsible for the promotion of top military officers, thereby ensuring their loyalty.

In terms of strategic decisions, its seems that the succession from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un will be different from the last changing of the guard in 1994. As early as 2008, it seemed likely that the role of the Party would be strengthened substantially. The restoration of the WPK’s formal power organs and the many biographical details that were provided on the top leadership circle, including the group photo, indicate that the new leader will not be as autocratic as his predecessors. The new leadership will have more faces; we could observe something similar a few months ago in the case of the National Defense Commission. This is the reflection of a trend, not a spontaneous event.

What seems most notable is the renewed emphasis on Kim Il Sung as the sole source of legitimacy in North Korea. Kim Jong Il is not going to replace him, which would have been a precondition for the perpetuation of the current system of leadership. Therefore, in a sense, Kim Jong Un and all those who come after him will be, like Kim Jong Il, successors of Kim Il Sung.

Concerning the process of power transfer, as expected, a multi-stage approach is unfolding. At least one more stage will be needed. Chances are good that this will take place at the Seventh Party Congress, whose date is as of yet unannounced. 2012 would be a good time considering the health of Kim Jong Il and that year’s auspicious meaning—the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birthday. As stated above, Kim Il Sung was a capable politician. He was clearly aware of the fact that sooner or later, his son would face the succession issue. It would be a great surprise if he hadn’t talked about this with him and jointly developed a rough plan as to how create a sustainable model of power succession. The two problems Kim Il Sung could not consider, simply for technical reasons, were who exactly would show the necessary capabilities to become the next successor, and how much time Kim Jong Il would have to oversee and guide that process.

The year 2008 indeed marked a watershed when, because of his illness, Kim Jong Il realized the need for a quick solution. The last thing an autocrat wants is to create the impression of being forced to act, and of time running out. So he used the already fixed year 2012 not only as the year of the celebration of his father’s 100th birthday, but also as the year when great changes will happen and the gate to becoming a Strong and Prosperous Great Country will be opened. From this perspective, I would argue that Kim Jong Il is indeed fighting a “speed battle,” but in the form of compressing a process that was planned long ago and supposed to last longer, rather than creating such a process from scratch and hastily.

The China Factor

The message of support from Hu Jintao along with the two visits of Kim Jong Il to China before the delegate’s meeting immediately lead to the question: What type of North Korea will China support? Clearly, the last thing China wants is for North Korea to collapse. Such a situation would create a serious dilemma for Beijing. It could either do nothing and watch the U.S. sphere of influence expand right to its border, or it could actively interfere. This would instantly shatter all Chinese efforts to display itself to the carefully watching countries in the region as a peaceful giant that is a real alternative to protection by the United States. In the end, this is what North Korea is all about—competition between Beijing and Washington. Pyongyang knows this.

A third path may be open to China. The North has realized that the economic reforms of 2002, which focused on agriculture and hence closely resembled the Chinese example of 1979, were in principle a good idea, but that conditions were so unlike those in China that the results inevitably differed. In principle, the understanding that economic reform is necessary remains but reservations against the political side effects of such reforms have grown substantially due to the chaos that emerged in the aftermath of the 2002 measures. Given North Korea’s structure as an industrialized economy, reforms need to take place in industry.

There is a well-established blueprint for this; we call it the East Asian model. In short, it consists of a strong state that controls a few big players in the economy—zaibatsu or keiretsu in Japan, chaebol in Korea, and the state owned companies in China. A core requirement for this model to succeed is a huge source of finance, coupled with a strong political partner that, for a while, is willing to turn a blind eye on protectionism. The United States played that role partly for Japan, and very strongly for South Korea. China is now willing to do this service for North Korea under certain political conditions.

Many signs point in the direction of North Korea “returning” to the path of orthodox socialism, or at least to its East Asian version. “Rule by the Party”—a collective with a first among equals at the top—is not only a key component of any socialist textbook case, it is also characteristic of the Chinese model since 1978. After two leaders of the Mao Zedong type, North Korea may now be getting ready for one similar to the position that the current Chinese President, Hu Jintao, occupies in China—that is, a strong leader who rules as the head of a collective. With some luck, Kim Jong Un might even turn out to be a Deng Xiaoping—a man who has the power and vision to use this post to initiate and execute crucial reforms.


Worker’s Party conference wrap-up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

1. Below are some photos of the conference posted on including the first official pictures of Kim Jong-un:

2. As mentioned in the previous post, Kim Jong-il’s sister and son were named to the KPA and various KWP offices.

3. Hu Jintao endorses the conference outcome.  According to KCNA:

I, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and on my own behalf, extend warm congratulations to you on the successful WPK Conference, your reelection as general secretary of the WPK and the election of its supreme leadership body.

The WPK headed by General Secretary Kim Jong Il has achieved great successes in the cause of building Korean-style socialism through self-reliance and strenuous efforts by leading all the Korean people for many years.

In recent years the Korean people have made a series of admirable achievements in economic development, improvement of the people’s standard of living and other fields to build a great prosperous and powerful nation.

China and the DPRK maintain deep and traditional friendship and close geographical relationship with wide-ranging common interests.

It is the steadfast policy of the Chinese party and government to consolidate and develop the Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.

We defend and promote the bilateral relationship, always holding fast to it in a strategic view under the long-term discernment no matter how the international situation may change.

We will strive together with the DPRK side to steadily put the bilateral relations on a new stage and provide greater happiness to the peoples of the two countries and make greater contribution to achieving lasting peace and common prosperity of the region.

I heartily wish you and the WPK continued and greater fresh successes in the work to build a thriving nation by leading the Korean people.

Hu Jintao repeated support a couple of days later.  According to the  AFP:

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday pledged to strengthen ties with the new leadership in North Korea, during a visit to Beijing by a senior delegation from Pyongyang, state media reported.

Hu’s comments come after ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il this week offered senior posts in the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) to his son Jong-Un and promoted him to the rank of general — signs that he is the heir apparent.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and provides an economic lifeline to impoverished Pyongyang.

“We believe that the WPK, the DPRK government and people will see new achievements in their national construction under the new WPK leadership,” Hu said, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Hu, who has welcomed Kim to China twice this year, said the Communist party would work with the WPK’s new leaders to “promote and expand cooperation” and “strengthen communication” on regional and international issues, Xinhua said.

The leader of the North Korean delegation, party politburo member Choe Thae Bok, said Kim’s decision to dispatch a high-level group of envoys so soon after the WPK conference “shows the importance the DPRK attaches to the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries,” the report added.

4. KCNA recounts the conference outcomes:

WPK Conference Held
Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — The Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held with success in Pyongyang on Sept. 28.

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, was present at the Conference.

Present there were delegates elected at the meeting of WPK delegates of the Korean People’s Army and provincial and political bureaus’ meetings of delegates of the WPK.

Officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, servicepersons and officials in the fields of science, education, public health, culture and arts and media attended the Conference as observers.

All the participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of President Kim Il Sung who successfully accomplished the cause of founding the Juche-type revolutionary party for the first time in history and developed the WPK into a powerful ever-victorious staff of the revolution.

Kim Yong Nam made an opening address.

Choe Yong Rim worked as chairman at the Conference upon authorization by the consultative meeting of provincial delegates.

The Conference elected its Presidium.

The Presidium included Kim Jong Il and Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Yong Chun, Jang Song Thaek, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Jong Gak, Jon Pyong Ho, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Paek Se Bong, U Tong Chuk and Ju Kyu Chang.

The Conference decided on the following agenda items.

1. On the reelection of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK
2. On the revision of the WPK rules
3. Election of the central leadership body of the WPK

The Conference discussed the first agenda item.

Kim Yong Nam delivered a speech proposing Kim Jong Il’s reelection as general secretary of the WPK.

He said in his speech that Kim Jong Il has devoted his all to the prosperity of the country and the nation and the victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche only for decades since he embarked upon the road of the revolution.

The half a century-long history of Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary activities was a history of heroic struggles in which he blazed the path with his ceaseless thinking and pursuit and extraordinary energy and a history of victories in which he made gigantic creation and innovations with his iron will and pluck, the speaker said, and continued:

The recent meeting of WPK delegates of the KPA and meetings of provincial and political bureaus elected Kim Jong Il as a delegate of the WPK Conference reflecting the unanimous will of the army and people of the DPRK to invariably hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as general secretary of the WPK.

Having Kim Jong Il at the top post of the WPK, organizer and guide of all victories of the Korean people, is the greatest happiness and highest honor of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

Kim Yong Nam courteously proposed to the Conference the reelection of Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people of the country.

Then followed speeches by Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Ho who is a delegate of the KPA party organization, First Secretary of the C.C., the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Ri Yong Chol who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea Hyon Sang Ju who is a delegate of the Jagang Provincial party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea Ri Myong Gil who is a delegate of the North Phyongan Provincial party organization and President of Kim Il Sung University and concurrently Minister of Higher Education Song Ja Rip who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization.

The speakers fully supported and approved in unison the proposal of the Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK.

A resolution of the WPK Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK was read out there.

The Conference discussed the second agenda item.

A resolution on the revision of the WPK rules was adopted.

The Conference discussed the third agenda item.

The Conference declared that Kim Il Sung, founder of the WPK and outstanding leader who led the party and the revolution to victories only, would be always held in esteem at the supreme leadership organ of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

It also declared that Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK, was reelected as member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the C.C., the WPK and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK according to the WPK rules and the detailed regulations for the election of the supreme leadership body of the WPK.

The Conference elected the central leadership body of the WPK.

Then followed the election of members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

Candidates for the members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK were elected as members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

The members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected.

Candidates for the members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected as members of the commission.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions of the September 2010 Plenary Meeting of the C.C., the WPK.

The results of the election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK and the secretaries of the C.C., the WPK and organization of the Secretariat were made public there.

The results of organization of the Central Military Commission of the WPK were released.

The appointment of the department directors of the C.C., the WPK and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the C.C., the WPK, and the results of election of the Control Commission of the C.C., the WPK were made public.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions made at the First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK.

Kim Yong Nam made a closing speech.

The Conference marked a significant occasion that demonstrated the revolutionary faith and will of all the party members, servicepersons and people to glorify the WPK as the glorious party of Kim Il Sung for all ages and accomplish the Songun revolutionary cause of Juche started on Mt. Paektu by invariably having Kim Jong Il, peerless political elder and illustrious Songun commander, at the top post of the party and the revolution.

5. According to  KCNA the WPK rules were changed, but I am unsure how.

6. Official Report on Plenum of WPK Central Committee:

The meeting discussed the following agenda items:

1. Election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

2. Election of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

3. Election of Secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and on Organization of the Secretariat

4. On Organization of the WPK Central Military Commission

5. On Appointment of Department Directors of the WPK Central Committee and the Editor-in-Chief of Rodong Sinmun, an Organ of the WPK Central Committee

6. Election of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee

The meeting elected the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and organized the Secretariat.

It organized the WPK Central Military Commission.

It appointed department directors of the WPK Central Committee and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee.

7. According to KCNA: The Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee is made up of Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok and Ri Yong Ho.

8. According to KCNAMembers of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea are Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Ri Yong Mu, Ju Sang Song, Hong Sok Hyong and Kim Kyong Hui. Alternate members of the Political Bureau are Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Pak To Chun, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Ju Kyu Chang, Ri Thae Nam, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, U Tong Chuk, Kim Jong Gak, Pak Jong Sun, Kim Chang Sop and Mun Kyong Dok.

9. According to KCNA: The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Secretaries of the C.C., WPK Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Thae Jong Su and Hong Sok Hyong

10. According to KCNA: The Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Chairman Kim Jong Il, Vice-Chairmen Kim Jong Un and Ri Yong Ho and Members Kim Yong Chun, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Thaek.

11. According to KCNA: Department directors of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea:  Kim Ki Nam, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Ri Yong Su, Ju Kyu Chang, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kyong Hui, Choe Hui Jong, O Il Jong, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Jong Im, Chae Hui Jong and Thae Jong Su.  Kim Ki Ryong was nominated to be editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

12. According to KCNAMembers and Alternate Members of WPK Central Committee:The following are members of the WPK Central Committee: Kim Jong Il, Kang Nung Su, Kang Tong Yun, Kang Sok Ju, Kang Phyo Yong, Kang Yang Mo, Ko Pyong Hyon, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Ki Ryong, Kim Rak Hui, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Pyong Ryul, Kim Pyong Ho, Kim Song Dok, Kim Song Chol, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Im, Kim Chang Sop, Kim Chol Man, Kim Chun Sam, Kim Thae Bong, Kim Phyong Hae, Kim Hyong Ryong, Kim Hyong Sik, Kim Hi Thaek, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Nam, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yong Chol, Kim Yong Jin, Kim In Sik, Kim Won Hong, Kwak Pom Gi, Ryang Man Gil, Ryo Chun Sok, Ro Tu Chol, Ro Pae Gwon, Ryu Yong Sop, Ri Ryong Nam, Ri Man Gon, Ri Myong Su, Ri Mu Yong, Ri Pyong Sam, Ri Pyong Chol, Ri Pong Dok, Ri Pong Juk, Ri Thae Nam, Ri Hyong Gun, Ri Hi Hon, Ri Yong Gil, Ri Yong Su, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Yong Mu, Ri Yong Hwan, Ri Yong Chol, Ri Ul Sol, Rim Kyong Man, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak Kwang Chol, Pak To Chun, Pak Myong Chol, Pak Su Gil, Pak Sung Won, Pak Jong Sun, Pak Jong Gun, Pak Jae Gyong, Pak Thae Dok, Pak Ui Chun, Pyon Yong Rip, Pyon In Son, Paek Se Bong, Song Ja Rip, Jang Pyong Gyu, Jang Song Thaek, Jang Chol, Jon Kil Su, Jon Ryong Guk, Jon Pyong Ho, Jon Jin Su, Jon Chang Bok, Jon Ha Chol, Jon Hui Jong, Jong Myong Do, Jong Ho Gyun, Jong In Guk, Jo Kyong Chol, Jo Myong Rok, Jo Pyong Ju, Ju Kyu Chang, Ju Sang Song, Ju Yong Sik, Cha Sung Su, Chae Hui Jong, Choe Kyong Song, Choe Ryong Hae, Choe Pu Il, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Hui Jong, Choe Yong Dok, Choe Yong Rim, Thae Jong Su, Han Kwang Bok, Han Tong Gun, Hyon Chol Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Hong Sok Hyong, Hong In Bom, An Jong Su, Yang Tong Hun, Yang Hyong Sop, O Kuk Ryol, O Kum Chol, O Su Yong, O Il Jong, U Tong Chuk, Yun Tong Hyon and Yun Jong RinThe alternate members are: Kang Ki Sop, Kang Kwan Ju, Kang Kwan Il, Kang Min Chol, Kang Hyong Bong, Ko Su Il, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Kye Gwan, Kim Tong Un, Kim Tong Il, Kim Tong I, Kim Tong Il, Kim Myong Sik, Kim Pyong Hun, Kim Pong Ryong, Kim Chang Myong, Kim Chon Ho, Kim Chung Gol, Kim Thae Mun, Kim Hui Yong, Kim Yong Suk, Kim Yong Jae, Kim Yong Ho, Kim Yong Gwang, Kim U Ho, Kwon Hyok Bong, No Kwang Chol, Tong Jong Ho, Tong Yong Il, Ryom In Yun, Ro Kyong Jun, Ro Song Sil, Ryu Kyong, Ri Kuk Jun, Ri Ki Su, Ri Myong Gil, Ri Min Chol, Ri Sang Gun, Ri Song Gwon, Ri Su Yong, Ri Jong Sik, Ri Jae Il, Ri Je Son, Ri Chan Hwa, Ri Chang Han, Ri Chol, Ri Chun Il, Ri Thae Sop, Ri Thae Chol, Ri Hong Sop, Ri Hi Su, Ri Yong Ju, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Il Nam, Pak Ri Sun, Pak Pong Ju, Pak Chang Bom, Paek Kye Ryong, Paek Ryong Chon, So Tong Myong, Son Chong Nam, Song Kwang Chol, Sin Sung Hun, Jang Myong Hak, Jang Yong Gol, Jang Ho Chan, Jon Kyong Son, Jon Kwang Rok, Jon Song Ung, Jon Chang Rim, Jong Myong Hak, Jong Pong Phil, Jong Pong Gun, Jong Un Hak, Jo Song Hwan, Jo Jae Yong, Jo Yong Chol, Ji Jae Ryong, Cha Kyong Il, Cha Jin Sun, Cha Yong Myong, Choe Ki Ryong, Choe Kwan Jun, Choe Tae Il, Choe Pong Ho, Choe Chan Gon, Choe Chun Sik, Choe Hyon, Choe Yong Do, Choe Yong, Thae Hyong Chol, Han Chang Nam, Han Chang Sun, Han Hung Phyo, Ho Song Gil, Hyon Sang Ju, Hong Kwang Sun, Hong So Hon, Hong Sung Mu, Hwang Pyong So, Hwang Sun Hui, Hwang Hak Won, An Tong Chun, Yang In Guk and O Chol San.

13. According to KCNA: The plenum elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee. Kim Kuk Thae was elected chairman, Jong Myong Hak first vice-chairman, Ri Tuk Nam vice-chairman and Cha Kwan Sok, Pak Tok Man, Cha Sun Gil and Kim Yong Son members of the commission.

14. According to KCNA: The First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held here on Sept. 28.  Present there were Kim Chang Su, Pak Myong Sun, Choe Pae Jin, Kim Chol, Sim Chol Ho, O Ryong Il, Kye Yong Sam, Ryu Hyon Sik, Ko Myong Hui, Pang Yong Uk, Jang Jong Ju, Ho Kwang Uk, Ji Tong Sik, Jong Pong Sok and Choe Kwon Su, members of the commission elected at the Conference of the WPK. The meeting elected chairman and vice-chairperson of the commission. Kim Chang Su was elected chairman and Pak Myong Sun vice-chairperson.

15. The Daily NK offers a summary of the conference.

16. Mike has a summary at NK Leadership Watch.

17. The Choson Ilbo reports that the conference was scaled down:

The extraordinary congress of the North Korean Workers Party which convened Tuesday was apparently held at a smaller venue than previously expected. The Mansudae Assembly Hall (The Supreme People’s Assembly building), where it took place, seats 1,000, whereas previous guesses had put it at the 6,000-seater April 25 Cultural Hall or the People’s Cultural Palace, which has 2,000 seats.

That suggests only 500 to 700 delegates attended the congress since a half of the seats at a party congress are normally filled with audience members. In comparison, some 1, 323 delegates attended the second party congress in October 1966.

A high-ranking North Korean defector who saw photos of the latest party congress said it is clear that the event was considerably scaled down, in sharp contrast to the past event that had been held in a festive mood involving some 6,000 people.

A senior source in North Korea also put the number of delegates at about 500, saying even some very senior officials had not been selected as delegates.

The North seems to have downscaled the event due to anxiety over the leadership succession and a volatile mood in the country including signs of public unrest as food rations in Pyongyang were suspended, the source added.

Many people who were unable to fit into the main conference hall reportedly watched the congress on video screens installed at the April 25 Cultural Hall and the People’s Cultural Palace.

18. Previous posts on the conference can be found here in chronological order: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here.


Kim Jong-un named to KPA and KWP-CC, and Central Military Commission

Monday, September 27th, 2010

UPDATE 4: Photos of the aspiring leader have been made public. has all of them here.

UPDATE 3: Just for fun…there appears to be at least one other “Kim Jong-un” in North Korea.  It will be interesting to see if he has to change his name (if he is still alive)!  Here is a KCNA story from April 23, 1997:

Press review
Pyongyang, April 23 (KCNA) — Papers here today frontpage reports that Secretary Kim Jong Il sent thanks and gifts to workteam members of the no. 7 excavator operating in Kumsan pit in Ryongyang mine for their collective innovation and thanks to servicemen and their families for setting examples in army-people relations. Reported in the press is the news that a monument to on-site guidance of Secretary Kim Jong Il, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, was erected at the unit that defends Cho Islet, a forward military post on the West Sea of Korea. Rodong Sinmun carries a letter sent to Secretary Kim Jong Il by participants in the meeting of senior officials of progressive parties of different countries held in Moscow to mark the 85th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung as well as a statement adopted at the meeting. Minju Joson comes out with an article headlined “Our General always stands on Height 1211”. Conspicuous in Rodong Sinmun is an article titled “devotedly defending headquarters of revolution is foremost mission of people’s army”. The paper gives nearly one whole page to the lyric epic “Supreme Commander and his vanguard soldiers” which is dedicated to heroic soldiers. The Swedish Government decided to take a humanitarian measure for Korea, the press reports. Rodong Sinmun runs an article “Korean-style socialism is the best”, written by Kim Jong Un, who came over to the northern half of Korea while serving in the south Korean puppet army. Papers comment on the disclosure of Kim Young Sam’s bid to conceal the truth as regards the “investigation” into the Hanbo incident. An article of Rodong Sinmun says that the south Korea-stationed U.S. forces’ possession of depleted uranium bullets proves that their moves for war reached an extremely grave phase. Seen in Minju Joson is an article on the triangular military tieup of the U.S. and Japanese reactionaries and the south Korean puppets.

UPDATE 2: Kim Jong-un was also named to the Central Committee of the Korean Worker’s Party.  According to KCNA:

Members and Alternate Members of WPK Central Committee
Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — The following are members of the WPK Central Committee: Kim Jong Il, Kang Nung Su, Kang Tong Yun, Kang Sok Ju, Kang Phyo Yong, Kang Yang Mo, Ko Pyong Hyon, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Ki Ryong, Kim Rak Hui, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Pyong Ryul, Kim Pyong Ho, Kim Song Dok, Kim Song Chol, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Un, …

Mike has a good summary here.

UPDATE 1: Kim Jong-un has been named to the KWP Central Military Comission.  Kim Kyong-hui has joined th  According to Bloomberg:

Kim Jong Un was elected one of two Central Military Commission vice chairmen at a Worker’s Party of Korea meeting yesterday, a day after he was made a four-star general, the official Korean Central News Agency said. He also joined the party’s Central Committee, though not the more elite Politburo, at a meeting yesterday. His father’s sister, Kim Kyong Hui, was given several high-ranking posts, including politburo membership, KCNA reported.

The Kim family’s tightening grip on the military and party hierarchy underscores the challenge of transferring power to a son who had never before been mentioned in a KCNA dispatch. Kim Jong Un faces an increasingly disgruntled public in an economy squeezed by United Nations sanctions targeted at its weapons programs and a bungled currency revaluation.

“Even Kim Jong Il must be wary of public criticism should his son fail to improve economic conditions,” Paik Hak Soon, director of inter-Korean relations at the Seongnam, South Korea- based Sejong Institute, said before the commission appointment. “Domestic political stability will be Kim Jong Un’s key focus.”

Kim Jong Il, 68, was re-elected as party chief, general secretary and chairman of the military commission, KCNA said.

China’s President Hu Jintao congratulated Kim Jong Il on his re-election, pledging to strengthen ties with his country’s communist neighbor “to a higher level,” the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported today, without mentioning the son. Kim Jong Il made an unprecedented two trips to China this year, prompting speculation he was seeking endorsement of the power transfer from his nation’s main political and economic ally.

Here is the original KCNA story:

Central Military Commission Organized
Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — The Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows:

Chairman Kim Jong Il, Vice-Chairmen Kim Jong Un and Ri Yong Ho and Members Kim Yong Chun, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Thaek.

ORIGINAL POST: Kim Jong-un and Kim Kyong Hui named 4-star generals in KPA.  According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has made his third son a military general in the clearest signal yet that Kim Jong-un is on track to becoming the next leader of the nuclear-armed communist state.

The promotion was announced early Tuesday through the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), just hours before North Korea was to hold its biggest political convention in three decades.

At the conference drawing top Workers’ Party delegates from across the nation, Kim Jong-un, whose name has never been mentioned in public and believed to be no older than 28, could be given other political posts, including one with the Politburo.

The KCNA report said Kim Kyoung-hui, the 64-year-old sister of Kim Jong-il, has also been promoted to a four-star general along with Choe Ryong-hae, a long-time aide to the Kim dynasty.

Kim Kyoung-hui, who oversees the country’s light industries, has recently emerged as a possible caretaker for a hereditary power transfer because Kim Jong-un lacks experience and support.

Her name was mentioned before Kim Jong-un’s in the KCNA dispatch.

Kim Jong-il, 68, is widely believed to have suffered a stroke in the summer of 2008 and since tried to make his third son his successor in what could be the communist world’s first back-to-back father-to-son power transfer. Kim took over the regime when his father and North Korean founder Kim Il-sung died in 1994.

Kim Jong-il officially became successor to his father in a Workers’ Party gathering in 1980. In a directive numbered 0051, Kim named a total of 39 generals on Monday, the KCNA said. Six of them, including Kim Jong-un and Kim Kyoung-hui, were four-star generals.

“The appointment clears the way for Kim Jong-un to forge deeper ties with power elites,” a South Korean Unification Ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said in a briefing in New York that his country is “watching developments in North Korea carefully.”

“North Korea has now made it official,” Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said. “It is certain that Kim Jong-un will be named to a high-level Workers’ Party post in the upcoming convention.”

The KCNA said Kim Jong-il “firmly believes that the commanding members of the People’s Army will continue to support the leadership of the party and complete the revolutionary exploit that was first begun in Mt. Paekdu,” which symbolizes the Kim dynasty.

In a separate dispatch, the KCNA said Ri Yong-ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, was promoted to the rank of vice marshal in a possible sweetener for the military class, whose support is crucial for Kim Jong-un to solidify his power.

Kim Jong-un was educated in Switzerland during his teens and is believed to resemble his father in appearance and personality. He has been shrouded in secrecy, and photos of him are extremely rare.

It remains to be seen whether the North’s official television media will unveil Kim Jong-un in its footage of the Workers’ Party convention on Tuesday.

“For one thing, blood is stressed much more in North Korea as something that defines character,” Brian Myers, a professor of international studies at Dongseo University in Busan, said in comments e-mailed earlier. “In a culture where myth and charisma are so important, the masses need a hero figure in the ‘glorious Paekdu tradition,’ not a faceless bureaucrat or a group of army officers.”

So there are several “big” stories in KCNA today.  Kim Jong-un’s (son of KJI) and Kim Kyong Hui’s (sister of KJI) promotion to KPA general and Kim Jong-il’s “re-election” as general secretary of the Worker’s party.  Here are the stories:

Kim Jong Il Issues Order on Promoting Military Ranks

Pyongyang, September 27 (KCNA) — General Secretary Kim Jong Il on Monday issued Order No. 0051 on promoting the military ranks of commanding officers of the KPA.

He said in his order that all the servicepersons of the People’s Army and people are now significantly celebrating the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea with unbounded reverence for President Kim Il Sung who made a new history of building a revolutionary party in the era of independence and strengthened and developed the WPK into vanguard ranks of revolution with high prestige and invincible might.

He stressed that the WPK born from the deep and strong roots struck in the anti-Japanese revolution has honorably discharged its mission and duty as a political staff of the Korean revolution since the very day of its founding and performed immortal exploits to shine long in the history of the country.

The KPA is demonstrating its might before the world as a powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu after growing to be a strong army of the leader and the party, devotedly defending the headquarters of the revolution with arms and performing heroic feats to shine long in history in the defence of the country and building of a thriving socialist nation, he noted.

Expressing the firm belief that the commanding officers of the KPA who have grown up under the care of the party and the leader would creditably discharge their honorable missions and duties as the mainstay and main force of the revolution in accomplishing with arms the revolutionary cause of Juche which started in Mt. Paektu, remaining true to the Party’s leadership in the future, too, he issued an order on promoting the military ranks of KPA commanding officers on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea.

It is noted in the order that the military ranks of Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Un and Choe Ryong Hae and three others are promoted to general, the military rank of Ryu Kyong to colonel general, the military ranks of Ro Hung Se and Ri Tu Song and four others to lieutenant general and those of Jo Kyong Jun, Jang To Yong and Mun Jong Chol and 24 others to major general.

Here is the story about Kim Jong-il’s re-election as general secretary.

Additional Information:
1. Here is coverage in the Washington Post.

2. Here is coverage in the New York Times.

3. Here is an article in the Taipei Times on Kim Kyong Hui (Kim Jong-il’s sister).

4. Here is a post about the first known (in the West) official mention of Kim Jong-un’s name in the DPRK–not in the official media.

5.  Here is information from Bradley Martin and Mike (NK Leadership Watch) on Choe Hyong-rae.

6. According to the Daily NK, North Koreans were not at all surprised by the announcement.

7.  The Daily NK has information on Ri Yong-ho.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean leader names his youngest son as general
Sam Kim


UN report explains sanctions decisions

Friday, August 6th, 2010

According to the Daily NK:

The 1718 Committee of the UN Security Council has published the final version of its “Report to the Security Council from the Panel of Experts established Pursuant to Resolution 1874,”

In the report, of which the Daily NK has obtained a copy, the 1718 Committee revealed North Korean overseas accounts which had likely been used for North Korea’s illicit activities such as conventional weapons transactions and luxury goods, and the names of entities and individuals involved in those activities. The lists were submitted by UN member states.

The report singles out 17 North Korean officials thought likely to violate UN Resolutions 1718 and 1874, and outlines the reasons why they were designated by the UN member states.

They are Jang Sung Taek, Vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission and the closest associate of Kim Jong Il, Vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission Oh Keuk Ryul, Kim Young Chun, the Minister for the People’s Armed Forces, Director of No. 39 Department Kim Dong Woon, Military Supplies Secretary in the Central Committee of the Party Jeon Byung Ho, former Yongbyon technical director Jeon Chi Bu, First Vice-director of the Ministry of the Munitions Industry Chu Kyu Chang, Standing Vice-director of the People’s Army’s General Political Department Hyun Cheul Hae, President of the Tanchon Commercial Bank Kim Dong Myung, Member of the National Defence Commission Baek Se Bong, Deputy Director of the General Political Department of the People’s Armed Forces Park Jae Kyung, President of the Academy of Science Byeon Youong Rip, Director of the General Bureau of Atomic Energy Ryeom Young, Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics of Kim Il Sung University Seo Sang Il, President of Kohas AG Jacop Steiger and Alex H.T. Tsai, who is known to have provided financial, technological and other support for KOMID, and his wife, Su Lu-chi.

It also released a list of autonomous designations provided by member states, covering 19 North Korean entities. That list was made based on information collected as of April 30th this year.

They are Amroggang Development Banking Corporation, Global Interface Company Inc., Hesong Trading Corporation, Korea Complex Equipment Import Corporation, Kohas AG, Korea International Chemical Joint Venture Company, Korea Kwangson Banking Corp, Korea Kwangsong Trading Corporation, Korea Pugang Trading Corporation, Korea Pugang Mining and Machinery Corporation ltd., Korea Ryongwang Trading Corporation, Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation, Korea Tonghae Shipping Company, Ponghwa Hospital, Pyongyang Informatics Centre, Sobaeku United Corp., Tosong Technology Trading Corporation, Trans Merits Co. Ltd., and Yongbyon Nuclear Research Centre.

13 out of the 19 have direct or indirect links to Tanchon Commercial Bank and Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).

Amroggang Development Banking Corporation is the financial arm of KOMID and related to Tanchon Commercial Bank, which has also been designated by the 1718 Committee. Additionally, Global Interface Company Inc. is owned by Alex Tsai, who is thought to have provided, or attempted to provide, support to KOMID.

Sobaeku United Corp. is involved in activities related to natural graphite, producing graphite blocks that can be used in missiles.

The report points out, “North Korea has established a highly sophisticated international network for the acquisition, marketing and sale of arms and military equipment, and arms exports have become one of the country’s principal sources for obtaining foreign exchange,” and goes on to say, “Agencies under the National Defense Commission (NDC), the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the Korean People’s Army (KPA) are most active in this regard.”

The report explains, “The Second Economic Committee of the National Defense Commission plays the largest and most prominent role in nuclear, other WMD and missile-related development programs as well as in arranging and conducting arms-related exports.”

It adds, “The General Bureau of Surveillance of the Korean People’s Army is involved in the production and sale of conventional armaments.”

The report points out that North Korea has opened 39 accounts with 18 overseas banks in 14 countries. 17 of which are held with Chinese banks.

Besides China, 11 banks in eight European and former Soviet countries (Russia, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Italy, German, Belarus and Kazakhstan) hold 18 North Korean accounts. There is one account in Malaysia.

“The DPRK also employs a broad range of techniques to mask its financial transactions, including the use of overseas entities, shell companies, informal transfer mechanisms, cash couriers and barter arrangements,” the report notes.

According to experts on North Korea, since North Korean overseas illegal activities are all led by the loyal group surrounding Kim Jong Il, U.S. financial sanctions in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions 1817 and 1874 and also U.S. Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 have the potential to be a great pressure on the Kim Jong Il regime.

The Panel of Experts, which was appointed by the UN Secretary-General on 12 August 2009 to author the report, are David J. Birch (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, coordinator), Masahiko Asada (Japan), Victor D. Comras (United States of America), Erik Marzolf (France), Young Wan Song (Republic of Korea), Alexander Vilnin (Russian Federation), and Xiaodong Xue (People’s Republic of China).

Read the full story here:
Report Explains Sanctions Decisions
Daily NK
Kim Yong Hun


The Relationship between the Party and the Army under the Military-First Policy

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Daily NK
Choi Choel Hee

With Kim Jong Il’s condition an issue, there has been a lot of talk about North Korea’s government system in the post-Kim Jong Il era.

Due to the strengthened military influence caused by the military-first policy, one prediction is that a military-based collective leadership system may take power after Kim Jong Il.

However, a defector who used to be a high-ranking official in North Korea pointed out that this prediction comes from an incorrect understanding about the relationship between the Party and the military.

Hwang Jang Yop, who is a former Secretary of International Affairs of the Workers’ Party, has said that not military authorities but the Party would likely grasp power after Kim Jong Il’s death.

I. Chosun (North Korea) People’s Army Is the Army of the Party

According to the Regulations of the Workers’ Party, the Chosun People’s Army is defined as “the revolutionary military power of the Workers’ Party.” Separate from the regular chain of command in the Army, Party members are assigned to each unit to command them. That is, there are two command structures: a military chain of command and the Party’s organizational system.

The People’s Army is controlled by the Party Committee of the Chosun People’s Army under the Military Committee of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party. The chief secretary of the Party Committee of the Chosun People’s Army is Cho Myung Rok, who also holds the position of Director of the General Political Bureau of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces. His roles are to inform the Army of the Party’s instructions and regulations and to monitor and supervise the Army to make sure it adheres to the Party’s will and regulations.

At the same time, the highest political apparatus in the military, the General Political Bureau, is under surveillance of the Guidance Department of the Central Committee of the Party. Therefore, a Vice-Director of the Guidance Department of the Central Committee presides over the military while the military command system is always subordinate to the Party command system.

Regarding this relationship between the Party and the military, Hwang Jang Yop, the former Secretary of International Affairs of the Party, gave as an example “the Sixth Corps’ Coup d’état case,” and said that, “The suspected leaders of the coup were shot at once in a hall. The figure who ordered and carried out the massacre of the conspirators was Kim Young Choon, the Vice-Director of the National Defense Commission, but the political manager behind everything was Jang Sung Tae, Director of the Ministry of Administration, one of the departments under the Central Committee of the Party. This implies that there are different management systems overseeing the military — those of the military itself and those of the Party.”

II. The Right of Personnel Management and of Inspection Over the Military

The reason why the Director of the Guidance Department holds such a powerful influence is that the Director has the right to manage personnel and inspect the military.

Even the right to implement personnel management within the Army goes to the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party. The members of the Secretariat are the Director of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the Army Chief of Staff, the Director of the General Political Department, the Director of the Operations Department, and, in some cases, the commander of the Defense Security Command of the Army is included.

The Guidance Department of the Party maintains the right to inspect the Army. The scariest inspections for the military are the ones by the Guidance Department. On a rumor that the Guidance Department is coming, a few military officials are usually purged.

The fact is well known that Kim Jong Il himself also holds power over the military through controlling the Guidance Department.

The posts in charge of the military within the Guidance Department are the No. 13 Life Guidance Department and the No. 4 Cadre Department. Department #13 directly controls and instructs the operations of the Army Committee of the Central Committee of the Party and General Political Department of the Party.

III. Department #13 and Department #4 of the Guidance Department

The roles of these two departments are to monitor how well the Army follows the ideology and the leadership of Kim Jong Il, and whether or not party organizations and political organizations within the Army are operated well by the Party leadership. The Army Committee of the Party and the General Political Bureau doesn’t have the authority to make decisions, so it has to consult with Department #13 before taking action.

The Vice-Director of the Guidance Department is in charge of Department #13. The offices of Department #13 are located in the building of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces due to its association with the General Political Department of the People’s Army.

It also oversees the Army Committee of the Central Committee, the General Political Department, and the Army Committee. Department #13 participates in the major military meetings including the ideological struggle meeting. It hosts an annual fifteen-day-long Guidance Department lecture of the Party for military officials.

The No. 4 cadre department has the final say over personnel matters regarding high military officials. Officials whose rank is higher than brigadier general must be approved by the Guidance Department. After the Guidance Department signs off, posts and military title can be granted by the order of the supreme commander of the People’s Army. Therefore, the Guidance Department of the Party holds absolute control over the Army through exercising its right of personnel management of the officials.


Know the Party before Getting to Know Kim Jong Il

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Daily NK
Namgung Min

As rumors regarding Kim Jong Il’s illness surfaced during North Korea’s 60th anniversary celebrations, opinion was divided on whether the military or the Party will rise in power post-Kim Jong Il.

It is true that the power of the military rose post-Kim Il Sung, according to the “military-first” political line. The National Defense Commission (NDC) began leading various agencies and councils, and came to hold greater power because Kim Jong Il was introduced as the National Defense Commission Chairman during North-South Summits.

Thus, the National Defense Commission under military-first politics began to appear to be North Korea’s sole power base, as news on general-level promotions was released publicly by the National Defense Commission.

However, despite military-first politics, it remains the Chosun (North Korea) Workers’ Party that fundamentally controls the North Korean regime. Therefore, in order to understand the North Korean regime, one must understand the Chosun Workers’ Party.

Upcoming October 10th is the founding anniversary of this most important of organizations. The eyes of the world are focused on whether Kim Jong Il will appear on this day or not.

Therefore, it is time to closely examine what the Chosun Workers’ Party does and how it controls the North Korean regime.

The Korean Workers’ Party claims to be the direct heir to the North Korean Branch of the Chosun Communist Party that was established during “The Chosun Communist Party Convention of Leaders and Devotees of the 5 Northwest Provincial Party Committees” held on October 10th, 1945. Hence the founding date is October 10th. In April, 1946 the name was changed to the North Chosun Communist Party, which then became the Chosun (North Korean) Workers’ Party after being merged with Chosun New People’s Party in August of the same year.

North Korea is operated under the leadership of the Chosun Workers’ Party, as previously seen in other socialist countries; the nation’s power is concentrated in the Party. This implies that as the Party controls the country, the country is evolving into a socialist society and from there into a communist society.

The Workers’ Party, venerable as it is, not only holds the highest position of authority in North Korea but thus stands above other national agencies, organizations or the military.

I. The positions and roles of the Chosun Workers’ Party

The positions and roles of the Workers’ Party are described in detail in the “Rules and Regulations of the KWP,” “Ten Principals for the Party’s Unique Ideological System” and the “Socialist Constitution of North Korea.”

It is written in Article 11 of the Socialist Constitution, amended in 1998, that “The DPRK shall conduct all activities under the leadership of the Workers’ Party.” Furthermore, the Workers’ Party is stated to be an organ that controls other agencies and organizations as the highest revolutionary organization leading all other working organs.

However, the socialist constitution and the rules of the Party are only for the purpose of propagating the notion of the rationality and legitimacy of North Korea abroad while concealing a dictatorship. The reality within North Korea is completely different from the actual contents of the constitution.

In actuality, the socialist constitution and the rules and regulations of the Party defines that all sectors such as government, military, administration, judiciary, and even public prosecutor’s office are led by the Party, while being utilized as the apparatus for Kim Jong Il’s Stalinist dictatorship. That is, the regulations recognize the Party’s leadership of the country and simultaneously state that the Party can only be operated and led by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

The Workers’ Party in legal terms is an organ that guides North Koreans, but in reality it is only an organ under the iron command of the supreme Leader. Therefore, the Leader stands in the highest position, above the Party, nation and sovereign organs.

II. The structure and functions of the Chosun Workers’ Party

The utmost decision-making organ of the Workers’ Party is the National Party Congress.

According to the rules and regulations of the Party, all decision making of the Party regarding policies, strategies, and tactics should be passed through the National Party Congress. However, in actuality the Party Congress only rubber stamps the decisions that were already made by the Central Committee of the Party.

It is theoretically a ground rule that the Party Congress meets once every 5 years. The first congressional meeting was held in August 1946, the Congress met for the 6th time in October 1980, but has failed to meet since; 28 years. The fact that the Congress is not meeting regularly signifies that the regime system is not operating according to accepted principles of socialist states in the past.

If the Congress fails to meet, the Central Committee of the Party functions as the highest decision-making organ. The Central Committee should meet and discuss issues once every 6 months.

During these meetings, the General Secretary, committee members and the Presidium of the Politburo and committee members of the Central Committee of the Party should be elected. The Central Committee also has the authority to organize the Secretariat and the Central Military Commission.

However, even these twice annual meetings have not been held since the 21st meeting of the 6th cohort in 1993. When the meetings are not held, then the Politburo needs to take authority. However, the Secretariat of the Central Committee, whose General Secretary is currently Kim Jong Il, currently does so.

The highest organ in a communist society is officially the Presidium of the Politburo. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il is the only left in the presidium after the deaths of Kim Il Sung and Oh Jin Woo. This is why North Korea is sometimes called a totalitarian state. In the Chinese government, the Politburo presidium is properly functioning and decisions are made here. From a “democratic” perspective, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chosun Workers’ Party are completely different.

In any case, within the Secretariat of the Central Committee there are specialty departments such as the Guidance Department, Propaganda and Agitation Departments, and the United Front Department, and it also includes departments that supply secret funding to Kim Jong Il such as the 38th and 39th Departments.

The provincial organs of the Party consist of party committees of provinces, cities and counties that even include the most basic low-level party committees such as elementary party committees and sector party committees.

The structure of the Workers’ Party can also be divided into permanent party organs and temporary collective leadership groups. The permanent party organs include all members who work in any specialty departments, from the Central Committee down to low-level provincial party organs. Temporary collective leadership groups signify councils of high-level or low-level leaders of the central and provincial organs, made to implant permanent authority within the society through various meetings.

There are approximately 4,000,000 members of the Workers’ Party, including Kim Jong Il, high-level officials to low-level members, and figures from the legislature, judiciary, and the administration.

III. Main Departments and Their Roles

The main government complex of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party is located in Changkwang-dong, Joong-district of Pyongyang. There are many buildings in the complex which include Kim Jong Il’s personal office and most of the Central Committee departments.

The second government complex is located in Junseung-dong, Moranbong-district of Pyongyang. The Social Culture Department, United Front Department and Operations Department are included in this complex.

The Workers’ Party has placed all specialty departments under the authority of the Secretariat, to function as restriction and guidance on all areas of the party members, citizens and North Korea. There is a Guidance Department that observes party members then there are other departments that exercise political functions.

The Guidance Department actualizes party guidance and restraint within communities. The department functions as Kim Jong Il’s right hand and as the core department by restraining the lives of all officials, members and citizens within the party.

The Guidance Department sub-divides into the inspection department, official department, party-member registration department, administration department and a communication department that allows direct reports regarding any incident or accident. The Guidance Department also manages the judiciary and the public prosecutor’s office.

The inspection department is responsible for inspecting any anti-party, non-party, undisciplined or unreasonable activities that develop within the regime or leadership of the Party and report to Kim Jong Il. The Guidance Department inspection section is strictly separated from other departments and North Korean party members or officials are all fearful of it.

There are approximately 20 specialty departments such as the Propaganda and Agility Department, the 38th and 39th Departments to supply fund to Kim Jong Il, the United Front Department dealing with South Korea, the International Department, the Science Education Department, and the Operations Department that carry out political activities.

Currently the Korean Workers’ Party is in the middle of the process of replacing 1st or 2nd generation leaders with 3rd or 4th generation, often more practical, personnel.


Paektusan Cup Sports Contest Opens Pyongyang

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007


The Paektusan Cup sports contest was opened. This contest, which is held on the occasion of the February holiday every year [KJI birthday], greatly helps develop the nation’s techniques of physical culture. The participants in the current contest will compete in eight events such as basketball, volleyball, table-tennis, ice-hockey and speed skating in Pyongyang, Samjiyon and other areas. Its opening ceremony took place at the Basketball Gymnasium in Chongchun Street here on Tuesday. Present there were Kim Jung Rin, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, officials concerned and sportspersons. Mun Jae Dok, chairman of the Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, made an opening address at the ceremony, which was followed by speeches. The speakers stressed that all the players should give a good account of themselves by fully displaying the sports techniques they have usually practised and thus more significantly celebrate the February holiday. At the end of the ceremony a male basketball game was held between Sobaeksu and Amnokgang sports teams.


Citizens Exploited As the Nation Cannot Produce Its Own Income

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Daliy NK
Yang Jung A

North Korean authorities are requesting “implied” voluntary offerings to be made to the army, placing a greater burden on the North Korean citizens who are battling a tough winter due to the bitter cold and dire food crisis.

The first journalist to report about North Korea Lee Joon said that at a people’s unit meeting held in the rural district of Dancheon, North Hamkyung from January 7th to the 13th, orders were made from the central committee indicating a “severe food crisis amidst the people’s army,” reported Japan’s Asia Press on the 22nd.

Lee Joon is the first underground journalist to work in North Korea and has exposed the daily lives of North Korean citizens through video footages, collections of still life photos and voice recordings both nationally and worldwide.

At the people’s unit, an order was made “The food shortage in the people’s army is severe. With a devoted heart to the nation, every family must voluntarily offer food to the army.” Though the orders imply donations as a voluntary act, it is in fact forced upon the citizens or as it implies otherwise, suffer the consequences.

Lee informed “The exact amount of donations were not specified, though citizens are being pressured to increase their offerings as one person was said to have offered 600kg and another even up to 1tn.”

Lee said “Though the army declares a shortage in food, the cost of rice and corn at the markets has not risen in comparison to late November and early December” and commented “There does not seem to be a great shortage in supply as merchants at the markets sell rice imported from China.”

Contrastingly, Lee explained “From a national perspective, it seems that the supply of food had been considered low as international aid was terminated and crop output minimal.”

In addition to this “As the nation does not have any funds, an order was made for each family to invest their money into banks” and again “Though the exact amount was not specified, this order was indisputably forced” upon the citizens, Lee said.

Lee continued “Even 3 years ago, as a 10 years redemption national loan, the people had to support the nation with their funds” and “As there were many complaints from the people, the idea was changed to a look like a savings account. I believe that forcibly collecting money is no different to the national loan.”

At present, as there are many cases where North Korean banks cannot pay interest or capital from investments, any person that does invest in banks is called as a fool. Even though the government enforces a directive, it is unlikely that the people will invest their money in banks.

Lee said “Each person must gather 2.5tn’s of provisions and offer it to the local farms because a task was assigned to increase the output of fertilizer.” and remarked “It’s something that happens often, but it did come earlier than expected.”

“The poor collect excrement from their homes or public places whereas the rich slip through the cracks by either buying goods from the markets or offering bribes” Lee explained.

Complaints are rising against the government’s frequent tasks of offering goods, though “with feelings of discontent (resulting from international sanctions) the government exploits the people as they cannot make any money” Lee said.

In particular, “There is a general consensus amongst the people who now believe that the government is not trying to change the economy (through openness and reform) but only making their lives more difficult” revealed Lee.


ROK scenario planning for DPRK power shift

Monday, December 18th, 2006


North Korean Military: New Regime?  

If that happens, the report forecasts that the military is highly likely to control the government and independent units, such as the escort command, and the security command and the operation command will attempt to take control of the government by joining forces or individually.

Yesterday, Dong-A Ilbo obtained a report titled “North Korea’s Crisis Management System and Our Countermeasures” released by the information committee of the National Assembly. The report predicts that “we cannot rule out an abrupt collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime. But, given the neighboring countries do not have firm grounds for intervention, the fall of North Korea will happen gradually.” It was submitted to the committee on December 13 by three researchers of Peace Foundation, Cho Seong-ryeol, Kim Hak-rin and Kang dong-ho.

Kim Jong Il in Trouble in North Korean Emergency-

The report argues that a national crisis is likely to be caused when Kim Jong Il, the chief of the North’s Workers’ Party, the government and the military, is in trouble.

If that happens, the report forecasts that the military is highly likely to control the government and independent units, such as the escort command, and the security command and the operation command, will attempt to take control of the government by joining forces or individually.

In particular, it also expects Oh Geuk Ryeol, the 75-year-old operational director of the Workers’ Party who is considered to be the most powerful among Kim Jong Il’s cross associates, to act before others by utilizing his independent commanding authority and his elite unit equipped with advanced weapons.

The report says the first thing the North Korean military should do, after taking control, is to declare a national emergency in the name of the central military committee of the Workers’ Party, which is entitled to command and control all military power in the country according to Article 27 of the party rules. But the report also predicts that the national defense committee will be at the center of administration of power and that the new regime will maintain a group leader system temporarily.

Who Will Be the Acting Commander in Chief?-

According to the report, if the North engages in war with the outside world, the country is likely to shift an emergency control system with the commander in chief in its center, as it did during the Korean War.

Cho Myeong Rok, the 78-year-old director of the General Political Department of the Korean People’s Army, is highly likely to be appointed as a commander in chief by hierarchy. But, considering age and health, Kim Yeong Chun, the 70-year-old Chief of the General Staff of the Army responsible for military operation of the one million-strong forces, is the shoo-in, according to the report.

Establishment of the Succession System-

It has been analyzed that the establishment of a succession system is more urgent for Kim Jong Il than the overcoming of the economic crisis through reform and market opening or the formation of diplomatic ties with the U.S., since Kim is well aware that an emergency in the absence of the succession system will lead to a civil war.

For this reason, it says, chances are that Pyongyang will formalize the succession system internally in the first half of 2007, when internal cohesion following its nuclear test and the supportive atmosphere for the third-time succession of military authority to protect the vested interest of the “Military First politics” still remain.

The report also connects the gradual stabilization of the succession system and the resolution of the North’s nuclear problem. It estimates that Kim will demand approval of the succession system and massive economic assistance in return for denouncement of nuclear weapons, and that the Pyongyang-Washington ties will be normalized if Washington accepts the demand.

Korea Herald

N.K. general to lead if Kim loses power

A top military commander is expected to take the reins in North Korea in the event its leader Kim Jong-il loses power during an emergency, a South Korean parliamentary report said yesterday.

The report on a possible North Korean crisis pinpointed General Oh Geuk-ryul, chief of central combat operations of the Workers’ Party, as the strongest candidate to take contingency leadership of the communist country.

The report was written by the Peace Foundation, a private think tank on security affairs commissioned by the National Assembly Intelligence Committee.

The report said if Kim loses control, it will trigger fierce power struggles among leaders of different military groups such as Kim’s security guard, the Army headquarters, the intelligence command and the combat operations department.

None of them are in position to take control of the entire military. Kim is known to have controlled all military forces through a system of checks and balances among the several independent military groups. Each separate group is directed by Kim, with no influence on one another.

Among the powerful candidates, Oh, 74, is expected to take the lead in mobilizing his well-trained soldiers equipped with the North’s most modern weapons systems, the report said.

In the event the North Korean crisis triggers intervention from outside forces, the new leadership could fall under Kim Young-chun, deputy marshal of the Korean Peoples’ Army, the report expected.

Kim, 69, is likely to lead the North’s military in fighting against any foreign interventionist forces although Cho Myoung-rok, another deputy marshal of the KPA, is higher in rank, it said. Cho, 77, was cited as weaker than Kim due to his age and suspect health.

The report also said Pyongyang’s crisis may lead to the development of a crisis management system instead of the collapse of the North Korean regime.

The new authority is expected to exercise a military-led collective leadership after invoking martial law throughout the country, it said.

With regard to the possibility of North Korean military aggression, a full-scale invasion of South Korea is unlikely to occur at the time of such a crisis although the North could trigger local conflicts in frontline areas, the report said.

The report advised that South Korea needs to prepare to deal with the North’s new leadership and to enhance military preparedness for any possible clashes.