North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Il Absent from 12th SPA 2nd Session (revised)

Kim Jong Il did not appear at the 2nd session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.

The 2nd Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK was held at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Friday.

It was attended by deputies to the SPA.

Officials of Party, armed forces and power organs, public organizations, ministries and national institutions and those in the fields of science, education, culture and arts, public health and media attended it as observers.

The session discussed the following agenda items: “1. On the work of the DPRK Cabinet in Juche 98 (2009) and its tasks for Juche 99 (2010)”, “2. On the results of the implementation of the DPRK state budget for Juche 98 (2009) and its state budget for Juche 99 (2010)”, “3. On the adoption of the ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly ‘On revising some provisions of the DPRK Socialist Constitution'” and “4. Organizational matter”.

The SPA heard two extensive, and possibly cosmetic, reports.  Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier Pak Su Gil (who was appointed in September 2009) delivered the country’s budget report.  Recently let out of the vinalon doghouse, Premier Kim Yong Il read the Cabinet/ideological report.  The SPA was also reported to have made some revisions to the DPRK Constitution and done some bureacratic housekeeping.

Pyon Yong Rip, who was replaced as President of the National Academy of Science in September, was elected Secretary General of the SPA Presidium, replacing Choe Yong Rim who was appointed in 2009 as Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang Municipal KWP Committee.

The most notable change, at least from the early reports, comes in the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office, which seems to have been renamed the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office and a director, Jang Pyong Gyu, appointed.  The question is whether Jang Pyong Gyu replaces Prosecutor-General Ri Kil Song.  The institutional change to the Public Prosecutor’s Office is most likely related to the shift and status elevation of the Ministry of Public Security, which links with the Public Prosecutor.  Prior to this SPA session, the MPS was subordinated to the National Defense Commission, similar to the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.  Previously MPS was directly subordinate to the Cabinet.

I am awaiting more reports and observation, but I wonder if  “organizational matters” included electing a new SPA Budget Committee chair to replace Pak Nam Gi?  The Budget Committee also needed to replace Ri Chol Bong who reportedly died in a car accident around Christmas of 2009.

But where was Kim Jong Il?  As 9 April is also the anniversary of his appointment as chairman of the National Defense Commission, and this year is the 17th anniversary, perhaps he was away celebrating.  KBS’ evening news broadcast on 8 April included a report on two days’ observation of security preparations in Beijing, as well as the arrival there of several North Korean VIP delegations.    The reports also notes that if KJI has traveled to China, it will not be known until this weekend.

There were no overt indications or allusions to the allegedly ongoing Kim Jong Un (-Eun/-un) succession campaign, as noted by Yonhap’s Sam Kim in his tidy summary of the day’s session.  If one is looking for KJU indications, Daily NK writes about Open Radio for NK acquiring an issue of the KPA daily newspaper, on KJU’s supposed birthday (8 January) which includes political essays and oblique references on the rule of three generations of the Kim Family.

In the January 8th edition, Chosun People’s Army emphasized the loyalty of the military to the third generation succession in its first page editorial, saying, “The People’s Army will continue the tradition of loyalty to the Supreme Leader and Supreme Commander.”

The editorial went on, “The critical capacity to carry loyalty to the Supreme Leader and Supreme Commander down to the successor belongs to the People’s Army, the gun of the Mt. Baekdu (the Kim family). All the soldiers of the People’s Army should continue their mission and duty as the main force of revolution, as it was done in the past; in the tradition of loyalty to complete the Juche revolution.”

The editorial used a new expression, “the leadership to complete the great achievements of the Military-first Revolution” which many people assume to mean Kim Jong Eun.

The expression, “leadership of the Military-first Revolution” can be seen again on page 2 in another article, “For the Completion of the Succession for the Great Achievements of the Military-first Revolution,” which states, “Without the leadership of the Military-first Revolutionary Leaders, who lead the entire military in establishing the strong military climate and determined military system of the Supreme Commander, we can never think of the victorious, unbeatable, and strong military of the Mt. Baekdu revolution, which uses arms to guarantee the succession and link up the Juche revolutionary achievements.”

One comment on “Kim Jong Il Absent from 12th SPA 2nd Session (revised)

  1. Pingback: North Korean Economy Watch » Blog Archive » SPA meeting last Friday

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