Cabinet of North Korea

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Cabinet of North Korea
Government overview
Formed1948 (current, 2013)
JurisdictionNorth Korea
Minister responsible
WebsiteMinju Choson, the official newspaper of the Cabinet Edit this at Wikidata
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The Cabinet of North Korea (Naegak[1]) is, according to the Constitution of North Korea, the administrative and executive body and a general state-management organ in the Government of North Korea.[2] The Cabinet's principal newspaper is Minju Choson.


The cabinet, headed by Kim Il-sung, visiting Moscow in 1949

In North Korea's first constitution, adopted in 1948, the executive powers were vested in the Cabinet, chaired by Kim Il-sung himself. The 1972 constitution saw the establishment of the post of President of North Korea which led the executive branch, and the cabinet was split into two organizations: The Central People's Committee and the State Administration Council. The Central People's Committee provided the highest visible institutional link between the government and the party and serves in effect as a de facto super-cabinet. The National Defence Commission was then sub-committee of this body.[3] The CPC's formal powers were all-inclusive and it was chaired by the President.[4] Among its responsibilities are formulating domestic and foreign policies, directing the work of the State Administration Council and its local organs, directing the judiciary, ensuring the enforcement of the constitution and other laws, appointing or removing the vice premiers and cabinet members, establishing or changing administrative subdivisions or their boundaries, and ratifying or abolishing treaties signed with foreign countries. The CPC also may issue decrees, decisions, and instructions. The State Administration Council was guided by the CPC and was led by a premier (chong-ri) and included vice premiers (bochong-ri), ministers (boojang), committee chairmen, and other cabinet-level members of central agencies. It was responsible for the formulation of state economic development plans and measures for implementing them, the preparation of the state budget, and the handling of other monetary and fiscal matters.[5]

1982 saw the People's Armed Forces and Public Security Ministries assigned directly to the President together with the State Inspection Commission.

In 1990, by a CPC decision, the NDC became fully independent from it as a separate institution, and 1992 constitutional amendments assigned it directly to the Supreme People's Assembly. In 1998 amendments to the Constitution, the Central People's Committee and the State Administration were abolished, and the Cabinet was re-created. Thus, the Cabinet is not only the highest executive enforcement organ but was also expanded to become the general State management organ.

Emphasizing its expanded role, on January 1999 Kim Jong-il stated that

"The party organizations and party cadres should not intervene in administrative matters. The party should help the cabinet to be responsible for all economic affairs. Last year we made a new governmental system where the cabinet is supposed to be the control tower of the economy...No organizational unit should handle economic problems without consulting the cabinet".[6]


The cabinet is appointed and accountable to the Supreme People's Assembly, the North Korean unicameral parliament. The SPA chooses the Premier of North Korea who appoints three vice premiers and the cabinet's ministers. All members of the cabinet are members of the Workers' Party of Korea which rules the country since its establishment in 1948. While the SPA is not in session, the cabinet is accountable to the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.[7]

As of 2000, some 260 people have served as cabinet ministers. Six of them have been women:[8] Ho Jong-suk (Minister of Culture, Justice), Pak Chong-ae (Agriculture), Yi Yang-suk (Commerce, Textile and Paper Industries), Pak Yong-sin (Culture), Yi Ho-hyok (Foodstuff and Daily Necessities Industries), and Yu Gi-jong (Finance).[9]

Powers and responsibilities[edit]

The Cabinet, as the executive branch of the North Korean state, is responsible for implementing the state's economic policies, as guided by the Workers' Party. The cabinet is not responsible for defense and security issues, as those are handled by the State Affairs Commission. Thus, the security organizations such as the Korean People's Army, Ministry of People's Security and State Security Department report and subordinated directly to the SAC, whose Chairman holds full power as the supreme leader of the republic and the party and overall commander-in-chief of all uniformed forces. The Cabinet convenes a plenary meeting and an executive meeting.[10] The plenary meeting consists of all the Cabinet members, while the executive meeting is kind of a presidium, and comprises fewer people, including the Premier, vice premier and other Cabinet members whom the Premier nominates. The cabinet forms acts in the form of decisions and directives. In the performance of its mandate the Cabinet is empowered by the Constitution to:[11]

  • adopt measures to execute state policy.
  • institute, amend, and supplement regulations concerning state management based on the Constitution and ministerial laws.
  • guide the work of the Cabinet commissions, ministries, direct ministries and subordinate agencies of the Cabinet and the local people’s committees
  • set up and remove direct ministries and agencies, main administrative economic organizations, and enterprises, and adopt measures to improve the State management structure.
  • draft the State plan for the development of the national economy and adopt measures to put it into effect.
  • compile the State budget and adopt measures to implement it.
  • organize and exercise works in the fields of industry, agriculture, construction, transportation, communications, commerce, trade, land management, city management, education, science, culture, health, physical training, labor administration, environmental protection, tourism and others.
  • adopt measures to strengthen the monetary and banking system.
  • do inspection and control work to establish a state management order.
  • adopt measures to maintain social order, protect State and social cooperation body’s possession and interests, and to guarantee citizens’ rights.
  • conclude treaties with foreign countries, and conduct external activities.
  • abolish decisions and directions by economic administrative organs, which run counter to the decisions or directions made by its members.

Those Cabinet ministries that oversee economic sectors also control groups of industries called "complexes". These complexes consist of partially or fully state-owned industrial facilities like factories, mines, or farms, depending on the sector.[12] At a local level, the Cabinet supervises the Local People's Committees.


As of 13 April 2019, the following individuals make up the composition of the Cabinet:

Cabinet positions
Position Name Ref.
Premier Kim Jae-ryong [13]
Vice Premier
Chairman of the State Planning Commission
Ro Tu-chol [13]
Vice Premier Im Chol-ung [13]
Vice Premier Kim Tok-hun [13]
Vice Premier Ri Ju-o [13]
Vice Premier Ri Ryong-nam [13]
Vice Premier Jon Kwang-ho [13]
Vice Premier Tong Jong-ho [13]
Vice Premier
Minister of Agriculture
Ko In-ho [13]
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho [13]
Minister of Electric Power Industry Kim Man-su [13]
Minister of Coal Industry Mun Myong-hak [13]
Minister of Metallurgical Industry Kim Chung-gol [13]
Minister of Chemical Industry Jang Kil-ryong [13]
Minister of Railways Jang Hyok [13]
Minister of Land and Maritime Transportation Kang Jong-gwan [13]
Minister of Mining Industry Ryom Chol-su [13]
Minister of State Natural Resources Development Kim Chol-su [13]
Minister of Oil Industry Ko Kil-son [13]
Minister of Forestry Han Ryong-guk [13]
Minister of Machine-Building Industry Yang Sun-hHo [13]
Minister of Shipbuilding Kang Chol-gu [13]
Minister of Nuclear Power Industry Wang Chang-uk [13]
Minister of Electronics Industry Kim Jae-song [13]
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Kim Kwang-chol [13]
Minister of Construction and Building-Materials Industry Pak Hun [13]
Minister of State Construction Control Kwon Song-ho [13]
Minister of Light Industry Choe Il-ryong [13]
Minister of Local Industry Jo Yong-chol [13]
Minister of Consumer Goods Industry Ri Kang-son [13]
Minister of Fisheries Song Chun-sop [13]
Minister of Finance Ki Kwang-ho [13]
Minister of Labor Yun Kang-ho [13]
Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae [13]
Chairman of State Commission of Science and Technology Ri Chung-gil [13]
President of the State Academy of Sciences Jang Chol [13]
Minister of Land and Environment Protection Kim Kyong-jun [13]
Director of the Supervisory Bureau of Forestry Policy of the State Affairs Commission Kim Kyong-jun [13]
Minister of Urban Management Kang Yong-su [13]
Minister of Food Procurement and Administration Mun Ung-jo [13]
Minister of Commerce Kim Kyong-nam [13]
Chairman of the Education Commission Kim Sung-du [13]
President of Kim Il-sung University
Chairman of the Party Guidance Committee
Minister of Higher Education
Choe Sang-gon [13]
Minister of Public Health O Chun-bok [13]
Minister of Culture Pak Chun-nam [13]
Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il-guk [13]
President of the Central Bank Kim Chon-gyun [13]
Director of the Central Statistics Bureau Choe Sung-ho [13]
Director of Cabinet Secretariat Kim Yong-ho [13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency: Korea, North. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ Article 123 of the Constitution of North Korea
  3. ^ Article 105 of the 1972 Constitution
  4. ^ Articles 100-106 of the 1972 Constitution of North Korea
  5. ^ A Country Study: North Korea- 1993- Library of Congress
  6. ^ Jae-Cheon Lim. Kim Jong-il's Leadership of North Korea, p. 116
  7. ^ Article 125 of the Constitution of North Korea
  8. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2015). The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-19-939003-8.
  9. ^ Park, Kyung Ae (1994). "Women and Revolution in South and North Korea". In Tétreault, Mary Ann (ed.). Women and Revolution in Africa, Asia, and the New World. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-57003-016-1.
  10. ^ Article 121 of the Constitution of North Korea
  11. ^ Article 119 of the Constitution of North Korea
  12. ^ Madden, Michael (16 January 2019). "The DPRK Political Season: Two Post-Mortems". 38 North. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw "In full: promotions and demotions at North Korea's 14th SPA". NK PRO. Korea Risk Group. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

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