Kim Jong-un highlights economic development in Supreme People’s Assembly

Posted on : 2019-04-15 17:39 KST Modified on : 2019-04-15 17:39 KST
N. Korean leader follows in footsteps of his grandfather rather than his father
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Choe Ryong-hae
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Choe Ryong-hae

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for “ushering the [North Korean] economy as a whole to the world’s advanced level” and “channeling all of the nation’s energies into building the economy” in an Apr. 12 Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) policy speech, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported on Apr. 13. In particular, Kim stated concrete guidelines for “multifaceted and self-directed external economic cooperation, technology exchange, and trade activity.”

Kim’s message was seen as reaffirming North Korea’s commitment to its “focus on the economy” driven by “regeneration through our own efforts” in the face of intensive sanctions from the US and UN, while also seeking a way out of its current lack of options in terms of external economic relations. Some observers predicted that Kim’s commitment to negotiations with the US and improvement of inter-Korean relations is unlikely to change.

The SPA policy speech was the first by a North Korean top leader in 29 years since Kim Il-sung in 1990. Kim Jong-un appeared to be following in the footsteps of his grandfather rather than father Kim Jong-il, who was referred to by some as the “hermit leader.”

During a “central public gathering to celebrate the [re]election of the State Affairs Commission chairman” held on Apr. 13 at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang, SPA Presidium President Choe Ryong-hae referred to the position of State Affairs Commission chairman as “the country’s top position, representing all of the North Korean people and leading all state projects.” The Rodong Sinmun also referred to the State Affairs Commission chairman as the “supreme representative of all North Korean people and the higher leader of the republic.” The statements mean the title of “supreme representative of the North Korean people” has been added alongside “supreme leader” as descriptions of Kim – a change that lends weight to speculation that the North Korean Constitution was amended at the SPA to allow Kim to concurrently hold the position of external head of state.

During the Pyongyang rally, Choe was seated at the leaders’ platform under the titles of “Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee Political Bureau presidium member,” “first vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission,” and “president of the SPA Presidium.” Outgoing Premier Pak Pong-ju was also present there as a “Political Bureau Presidium member” and “WPK vice chairman.” Analysts said Pyongyang appeared to have adopted a “three-man system” for the WPK standing committee following the departure of Kim Yong-nam from the previous four-man system alongside Kim Jong-un, Choe, and Pak.

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer

Please direct comments or questions to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Most viewed articles