GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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
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