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JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
North Korea updated parts of its constitution on Thursday, a move aimed at solidifying and expanding Kim Jong Un’s position as the national ruler, state-run media reported.
“(In) order to arrange the strong legal groundwork for the path towards the socialist powerhouse, to be lead by Kim Jong Un’s monolithic leadership, we are to review and adopt the amendment of DPRK’s socialist constitution,” Rodong Sinmun wrote.
“Kim Jong Un … has raised the need to amend and supplement the socialist constitution, and has brightened the direction of how it should be amended while completing each and every one of clauses by himself.”
On the same day, Kim was appointed to chairman of the new State Affairs Commission, the new highest North Korean governing entity. Most of the other constitutional amendments replaced the title of Kim’s former position as the chairman of National Defense Commission (NDC), to chairman of the new organisation.
The constitution’s introduction was also revised, with the new version emphasizing both former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, instead of just Kim Il Sung.
“Reflecting the vigorous spirit of our people and military … we have clearly stated that ‘the DPRK and its people are to support Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as the Juche Chosun’s (North Korea) eternal Suryongs (Supreme Leaders) …to safeguard and adhere while inheriting and developing the ideologies and achievements of two former leaders to complete the Juche Revolution,'” it now reads.
“The DPRK’s socialist constitution is the ‘Kim Il Sung – Kim Jong Il constitution’, the legally written version of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s independent nation-building ideology and achievements.”
Kim Jong Un’s six duties as listed on the previous version of North Korean constitution have also gone through minor changes. Kim is now responsible for one more duty compared to his previous post as the chairman of NDC.
The North Korean change is the “de facto process of dismantling NDC, while expanding Kim Jong Un’s influence in managing the whole of the country,” Cheong Seong-chang, senior researcher at the Sejong Institute told NK News.
“The North Korean constitution, since the North Korean government was established on September 9, 1948, has gone through ten revisions, making this one as the 11th constitutional amendment,” Cha Du-hyeogn, the former secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for crisis information said.
Editor’s note: “National Security Committee” (roughly translated) was originally written as 국가방위위원회. No official English translation of the committee’s title or its job was provided by North Korean media.
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun