List of leaders of North Korea

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This article lists the political leaders of North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

North Korea Sovereign state in East Asia

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang the capital and the largest city in the country. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok and Tumen rivers; it is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. Nevertheless, North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands.

Contents

At the end of World War II, Soviet Union occupied the northern half of Korea and in 1946 established the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea chaired by Kim Il-sung. On 9 September 1948, the DPRK was proclaimed, also led by Kim Il-sung.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Soviet Civil Administration Soviet administration of North Korea after WWII

The Soviet Civil Administration (SCA) functioned as the occupying government of northern Korea from October 3, 1945 until the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948 although it governed concurrently after the setup of the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea in 1946. It was the administrative structure that the Soviet Union used to govern what would become North Korea following the division of Korea. Terentii Shtykov was the main proponent of setting up a centralized structure to coordinate Korean People's Committees. The setup was officially recommended by General Ivan Chistyakov and headed by General Andrei Romanenko in 1945 and General Nikolai Lebedev in 1946.

Korea Region in East Asia

Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948, it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.

The supreme leaders of the DPRK have been Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il, and his grandson Kim Jong-un. In this role they have not held consistent titles, though they were each leaders of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK)—titled as Chairman from 1948 to 1966, General Secretary from 1966 to 2011, First Secretary from 2011 to 2016, and finally Chairman again since 2016—for almost all of their period in power. Even though they have the appearance of a dynasty, succession is informal.

Kim Jong-il General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea

Kim Jong-il was the second leader of North Korea. He ruled from the death of his father Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, in 1994 until his own death in 2011. He was an unelected dictator and was often accused of human rights violations.

Kim Jong-un Supreme Leader of North Korea

Kim Jong-un is a North Korean politician serving as Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and also serving as the Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea since 2012. Kim is the second child of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and Ko Yong-hui (1952–2004). He is the grandson of Kim Il-sung, who was the first leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994. Kim is the first North Korean leader who was born after the country's founding.

Workers Party of Korea North Korea’s ruling political party

The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) is the founding and ruling political party of North Korea. It is the largest party represented in the Supreme People's Assembly and coexists de jure with two other legal parties making up the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. However, these minor parties are completely subservient to the WPK, and must accept the WPK's "leading role" as a condition of their existence.

From 1948 to 1972, the nominal head of state was the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA). In 1972, the constitution was amended to create an executive presidency. Kim Il-sung, who had served as Premier of North Korea since the DPRK's inception, was unanimously elected President of North Korea by the Supreme People's Assembly on December 28. He held this office until his death on 8 July 1994 when he was proclaimed the "eternal President of the Republic". Since then, the practical functions of the head of state have been exercised by the President of the Presidium of the SPA.

Supreme Peoples Assembly North Korean legislature

The Supreme People's Assembly is the unicameral legislature of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea. It consists of one deputy from each of the DPRK's 687 constituencies, elected to five-year terms.

Premier of North Korea Head of government of North Korea

The Premier of the Cabinet is nominally the non-executive head of government of North Korea. The office is also alternatively known as Prime Minister of North Korea. The current premier is Kim Jae-ryong.

Death and state funeral of Kim Il-sung

Kim Il-sung died on the afternoon of 8 July 1994 at age 82. North Korea's government did not report the death for more than 34 hours after it occurred. An official mourning period was declared from 8–17 July, during which the national flag was flown at half mast throughout the country, and all forms of amusement and dancing were prohibited.

After the death of Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il was understood to have inherited his father's near-absolute control over the country. [1] [2] [3] Although he had been his father's designated successor since at least 1991, it took him three years to fully consolidate his power. He was elected general secretary of the party in 1997, and was reelected Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) in 1998. During his rule he was given a range of titles. He ruled the country until his death on 17 December 2011. He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un, who was revealed to be in charge of the country since his father's death by the Rodong Sinmun and finally publicly acknowledged as supreme leader at the military review ending Kim Jong-il's funeral on 29 December 2011.

National Defence Commission North Korean government organ responsible for military and national defense affairs

The National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (NDC) was the highest state institution for military and national defence leadership in North Korea, which also served as the highest governing institution of the country from 1998 until 2016 when it was replaced by the State Affairs Commission.

Death and state funeral of Kim Jong-il

The death of Kim Jong-il was reported by North Korean state television news on 19 December 2011. The presenter Ri Chun-hee announced that he had died on 17 December at 8:30 am of a massive heart attack while travelling by train to an area outside Pyongyang. Reportedly, he had received medical treatment for cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases. During the trip though, he was said to have had an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock. However, it was reported by South Korean media in December 2012 that he had died in a fit of rage over construction faults at a crucial power plant project.

<i>Rodong Sinmun</i> North Korean newspaper

Rodong Sinmun is a North Korean newspaper that is the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. It was first published on November 1, 1945, as Chǒngro, serving as a communication channel for the North Korea Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea. It was renamed in September 1946 to its current name upon the steady development of the Workers' Party of Korea. Quoted frequently by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and international media, it is regarded as a source of official North Korean viewpoints on many issues.

The government is headed by the Premier of the Cabinet, formerly called Premier of the Administration Council.

Government of North Korea National government of North Korea

In the North Korean government, the Cabinet is the administrative and executive body. The North Korean government consists of three branches: administrative, legislative, and judicial. However, they are not independent of each other.

Cabinet of North Korea

The Cabinet of North Korea (Naegak) is, according to the Constitution of North Korea, the administrative and executive body and a general state-management organ in the Government of North Korea. The Cabinet's principal newspaper is Minju Choson.

Other important institutions include the SPA, whose sessions are chaired by the Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, and, since 1993, the Chairman of the NDC–since 2016, known as the State Affairs Commission–which holds supreme command of the DPRK's armed forces.

While two other parties, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party, nominally exist, only the WPK holds any power at the national level. The other parties, and indeed all other mass organizations in the country, are completely subservient to the WPK. They exist solely to keep up the appearance that the country is a pluralist society. Almost nothing is mentioned about the minor parties except the names of their current leaders. [4]

Since 1997, the SPA chairman, premier and NDC/SAC chairman have officially formed a triumvirate heading the executive branch, with powers equivalent to one-third of a president's powers in other presidential systems. The SPA chairman conducts foreign affairs and receives the credentials of ambassadors, the premier handles domestic policy and the NDC/SAC chairman commands the armed forces. In practice, however, the real power is vested in the SAC chairman (who has also been leader of the WPK), an office constitutionally defined as the "highest post in the state”.

Supreme Leader of the DPRK

The Constitution of North Korea has recognized the title "Supreme Leader" since 2009, when the Chairman of the National Defence Commission was formally designated as "the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (Korean: 조선민주주의인민공화국의 최고 지도자). [5] It was slightly amended in 2012, with "Chairman" replaced by "First Chairman." [6] It was further amended in 2016 to reflect the replacement of the NDC with the State Affairs Commission.

Kim Jong-unKim Jong-ilKim Il-sungList of leaders of North Korea

Generations of leadership

  First generation  Second generation  Third generation

PictureNameOffices heldPeriodIdeology
Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
김일성
(1912–1994)
Kim Il Sung Signature.svg
Supreme Commander of the KPA 8 February 1948 – 24 December 19919 September 1948

8 July 1994 †
(45 years, 302 days)
Juche
(Ten Principles)
Premier of the Cabinet of the DPRK 9 September 1948 – 28 December 1972
Chairman of the Central Committee of the WPK 30 June 1949 – 11 October 1966
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK26 June 1950 – 8 July 1994
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK11 October 1966 – 8 July 1994
President of the DPRK28 December 1972 – 8 July 1994
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK28 December 1972 – 9 April 1993
Eternal President of the DPRK5 September 1998 – present
Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg Kim Jong-il
김정일
(1941–2011)
Kim Jong-il Signature.svg
Supreme Commander of the KPA 24 December 1991 – 17 December 20118 July 1994

17 December 2011 †
(17 years, 162 days)
Juche
Songun
(Ten Principles)
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK 9 April 1993 – 17 December 2011
General Secretary of the WPK 8 October 1997 – 17 December 2011
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK
Eternal General Secretary of the WPK11 April 2012 – present
Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK13 April 2012 – present
Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png Kim Jong-un
김정은
(born 1983)
Kim Jong-un Signature.svg
Supreme Commander of the KPA 30 December 2011 – present17 December 2011

Incumbent
(7 years, 127 days)
First Secretary of the WPK 11 April 2012 – 9 May 2016
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK11 April 2012 – present
First Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK 13 April 2012 – 29 June 2016
Chairman of the WPK9 May 2016 – present
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission 29 June 2016 – present

Leaders of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK)

Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea.svg
Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea
No.PictureName
(Birth–Death)
Took officeLeft officePolitical party
Chairman
1 Kim Tu-bong.jpg Kim Tu-bong
(1889–1958)
28 August 194630 June 1949 WPNK
Chairman of the Central Committee
2 Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
30 June 194911 October 1966 WPK
General Secretary of the Central Committee
(2) Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
11 October 19668 July 1994 WPK
General Secretary of the Party
3 Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg Kim Jong-il
(1941–2011)
8 October 199717 December 2011
(see explanation below)
WPK
First Secretary of the Party
4 Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png Kim Jong-un
(born 1983)
11 April 20129 May 2016 WPK
Chairman of the Party
(4) Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png Kim Jong-un
(born 1983)
9 May 2016Incumbent WPK

Kim Jong-il died on 17 December 2011, but has since been posthumously named the "Eternal General Secretary". Thus his son and successor as leader, Kim Jong-un, was not given the title of General Secretary.

Heads of state

No.PictureName
(Birth–Death)
Took officeLeft officePolitical party
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly
1 Kim Tu-bong.jpg Kim Tu-bong
(1889–1958)
9 September 194820 September 1957 WPNK / WPK
2 Choe Yong-gon.jpg Choe Yong-gon
(1900–1976)
20 September 195728 December 1972 WPK
President of the Republic
3 Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
28 December 19728 July 1994
(see explanation below)
WPK
President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
4 No image.svg Yang Hyong-sop
(born 1925)
8 July 19945 September 1998 WPK
5 Kim Yong-nam in Moscow.jpg Kim Yong-nam
(born 1928)
5 September 199811 April 2019 WPK
6 Choe Ryong-Hae.jpg Choe Ryong-hae
(born 1950)
11 April 2019Incumbent WPK

Kim Il-sung died on 8 July 1994, but in 1998 was named "eternal President of the Republic". Thus his son and successor as leader, the late Kim Jong-il, was not given the title of President and the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly became recognised as the de facto head of state.

Heads of government

No.PictureName
(Birth–Death)
Took officeLeft officePolitical party
Premier of the Cabinet
1 Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
9 September 194828 December 1972 WPNK / WPK
Premier of the Administration Council
2 KimIl1974.jpg Kim Il
(1910–1984)
28 December 197229 April 1976 WPK
3 No image.svg Pak Song-chol
(1913–2008)
19 April 197616 December 1977 WPK
4 Li Jong-ok.jpg Ri Jong-ok
(1916–1999)
16 December 197727 January 1984 WPK
5 No image.svg Kang Song-san
(1931–2007)
27 January 198429 December 1986 WPK
6 No image.svg Ri Kun-mo
(1926–2001)
29 December 198612 December 1988 WPK
7 No image.svg Yon Hyong-muk
(1931–2005)
12 December 198811 December 1992 WPK
8 No image.svg Kang Song-san
(1931–2007)
11 December 199221 February 1997 WPK
No image.svg Hong Song-nam
(1929–2009)
Acting Premier
21 February 19975 September 1998 WPK
Premier of the Cabinet
9 No image.svg Hong Song-nam
(1929–2009)
5 September 19983 September 2003 WPK
10 No image.svg Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
3 September 200311 April 2007 WPK
11 No image.svg Kim Yong-il
(born 1944)
11 April 20077 June 2010 WPK
12 No image.svg Choe Yong-rim
(born 1930)
7 June 20101 April 2013 WPK
13 No image.svg Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
1 April 201312 April 2019 WPK
14 No image.svg Kim Jae-ryong
12 April 2019Incumbent WPK

Heads of parliament

No.PictureName
(Birth–Death)
Took officeLeft officePolitical party
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly
1 Kim Tu-bong.jpg Kim Tu-bong
(1889–1958)
9 September 194820 September 1957 WPNK / WPK
2 Choe Yong-gon.jpg Choe Yong-gon
(1900–1976)
20 September 195728 December 1972 WPK
3 Hwang Jang Yeop.jpg Hwang Jang-yop
(1923–2010)
28 December 19721983 WPK
4 No image.svg Yang Hyong-sop
(born 1925)
19835 September 1998 WPK
Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly
5 No image.svg Choe Thae-bok
(born 1930)
5 September 1998Incumbent WPK

Heads of the military

Standard of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army Standard of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army.svg
Standard of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
No.PictureName
(Birth–Death)
Took officeLeft officePolitical party
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea
1 Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
26 June 195028 December 1972 WPK
Chairman of the National Defence Commission
(1) Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
(1912–1994)
28 December 19729 April 1993 WPK
2 Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg Kim Jong-il
(1941–2011)
9 April 199317 December 2011
(see explanation below)
WPK
First Chairman of the National Defence Commission
3 Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png Kim Jong-un
(born 1983)
13 April 201229 June 2016 WPK
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
(3) Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png Kim Jong-un
(born 1983)
29 June 2016Incumbent WPK

Kim Jong-il died on 17 December 2011, but has since been posthumously named the "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission". Thus his son and successor as leader, Kim Jong-un, was given the title of "First Chairman".

See also

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References

  1. Barry Turner (2013). The Statesman's Yearbook 2014: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. Springer. p. 746. ISBN   978-1-349-59643-0. However, it is widely understood that Kim, like his late father, yields absolute power over the state, party and army.
  2. Korea Focus on Current Topics. Korea Foundation. 2000. pp. 109–110. Kim Jong-il exercises near absolute power based on juche thought and respect for his revolutionary legacy.
  3. Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia (1999). Japan and Russia in Northeast Asia: Partners in the 21st Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 138. ISBN   978-0-275-96382-8. On February 14, 1974, Kim Il Sung announced the ten major principles to the party leadership, thus forcing power rivals to accept his "divinity, absolutism, and unconditionality" as was articulated in the principles. As a result, one may consider Kim Jong Il's control over North Korea, at least for the time being, as absolute, because he has made it almost impossible to openly advocate ideas directed against his father or express discontent with the system.
  4. Savada, Andrea Matles. "Mass Organizations." North Korea: A country study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.
  5. Petrov, Leonid (12 October 2009). "DPRK has quietly amended its Constitution". Leonid Petrov's KOREA VISION. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  6. "Article 100". Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (PDF). Amended and supplemented on April 1, Juche 102 (2013), at the Seventh Session of the Twelfth Supreme People's Assembly. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. 2014. p. 22. ISBN   978-9946-0-1099-1.CS1 maint: others (link)