North Korea Table of Contents
Kim Il Sung, general secretary of the Korean Workers' Party
since October 1966, and president of the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea since 1972
Courtesy Democratic People's Republic of Korea Mission to the United Nations
As of the early 1990s, the philosophy underlying the relationship between the government and the party had not changed since independence. Government organs are regarded as executors of the general line and policies of the party. They are expected to implement the policies and directives of the party by mobilizing the masses. All government officials or functionaries are exhorted to behave as servants of the people, rather than as overbearing "bureaucrats." The persistence in party literature of admonitory themes against formalism strongly suggests that authoritarian bureaucratic behavior remains a major source of concern to the party leadership. This concern may explain in part the party's intensified efforts since the early 1970s to wage an ideological struggle against the bureaucratic work style of officials. The general trend is toward tightened party control and supervision of all organs of administrative and economic policy implementation.
In January 1990, Kim Jong Il introduced the slogan "to serve the people" and directed party functionaries to mingle with the people and to devotedly work as faithful servants of the people. Kim said that the collapse of socialism in some countries is a stern lesson to North Korea and is related to failures in party building and party activity. He stressed the importance of reinforcing the party's ideological unity and cohesion, and elucidated tasks that would strengthen education in the principle of chuch'e, revolutionary traditional education, and socialist and patriotic education.
The party is the formulator of national purpose, priorities, and administrative hierarchy. It is the central coordinator of administrative and economic activities at the national and local levels. Through its own organizational channels, which permeate all government and economic agencies, the party continues to oversee administrative operations and enforce state discipline. Without exception, key government positions are filled by party loyalists, most of whom are trained in the North Korean system, which emphasizes ideology and practical expertise.
Data as of June 1993