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North Korea Table of Contents

North Korea


Political System: Communist state under leadership of Kim Il Sung, general secretary of ruling Korean Workers' Party (KWP)and president of state, elected May 1990. Power centralized in hands of Kim Il Sung ("great leader"), son Kim Jong Il ("dear leader"), and select few holding positions on three-member Standing Committee of twenty-member Political Bureau (elected to five-year terms under 1992 revision of 1972 constitution; as of September 1992, thirteen full members; seven candidate members), inner council of 303-member KWP Central Committee (as of September 1992, 160 full members, 143 alternate members). Preeminence of party control (estimated 3 million members) unchallenged and as of mid-1993 no discernible signs of internal opposition to Kim Il Sung's absolute authority. Members of Supreme People's Assembly, unicameral legislature, also elected to five-year terms (as revision to 1972 constitution) in May 1990, with power to elect and recall authority of chairman, National Defense Commission, on president's recommendation; universal suffrage age seventeen. Constitution revised April 1992 at Supreme People's Assembly; text released in November 1992 by South Korean press. Nominally Marxist-Leninist in doctrine, but since mid-1970s, chuch'e, indigenous doctrine, promotes ideology of national self-reliance.

Administrative Divisions: 1972 constitution provides a two-tier system: nine provinces and three provincial-level special cities under direct central control; seventeen ordinary cities under provincial control.

Judicial System: Three-level judicial system patterned after Soviet model: Central Court at top, provincial courts at intermediate level, and people's courts at lowest level. Prosecutors grouped under separate, parallel chain of command topped by Central Procurator's Office, which supervises local procurators' offices at provincial and county levels.

Foreign Affairs: End of Cold War, break-up of Soviet Union, and changes in international political scene affected traditional alliances with China and Soviet Union.

Inter-Korean Relations: Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Exchanges, and Cooperation signed 1991 defines basic relations between the two Koreas in transition period to peaceful unification. Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula effective 1992 under the North-South Joint Nuclear Control Committee allows for mutual inspection of nuclear facilities.

International Memberships: Admitted to United Nations in 1991; maintains permanent mission in New York and participates in activities of many of its specialized agencies as well as those of other international organizations. Observer status at International Monetary Fund.

Data as of June 1993