Chairman of the State Affairs Commission

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Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
Emblem of North Korea.svg
Kim Jong-Un Photorealistic-Sketch.jpg
Kim Jong-un

since 30 June 2016
Residence Ryongsong Residence
Appointer Supreme People's Assembly
Inaugural holder Kim Jong-un
Formation 29 June 2016
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
Chosŏn'gŭl 조선민주주의인민공화국 국방위원회 위원장
Hancha 朝鮮民主主義人民共和國國防委員會委員長
Revised Romanization Joseon minjujuui inmin( )gonghwaguk gukbang( )wiwonhoe wiwonjang
McCune–Reischauer Chosŏn minjujuŭi inmin'gonghwaguk kukpangwiwŏnhoe wiwŏnjang
Emblem of North Korea.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces of North Korea and the most powerful person in the government as the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Originally titled Chairman of the National Defence Commission, it was confirmed as the highest position in the country on 5 September 1998. The Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) elects the Chairman for a period of five years. The election is held immediately subsequent to the election of a new People's Assembly.

The past holder of the position was Kim Jong-il, who was elected on 9 April 1993, running unopposed, and was re-elected on 1998, 2003 and 2009. He died on 17 December 2011. On 13 April 2012, during the session of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Jong-il was designated as "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea", while his son, Kim Jong-un was appointed as the "First Chairman".[1] On 24 December 2011, the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea formally appointed Kim Jong-un as the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army. In June 2016, the Constitution was amended to replace the National Defence Commission with the State Affairs Commission, and its chairman becoming head of state.

Legal and Constitutional Position[edit]

There is debate as to whether "highest office of state" should be considered equivalent to head of state. Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, was declared Eternal President, but it appears that the office is a facet of his extensive cult of personality. The Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, who handles the diplomatic functions that a head of state might normally undertake, is also sometimes considered the de jure head of state.

However, a 2009 amendment to the country's 1972 constitution named the Chairman of the National Defense Commission as the "supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." This means the NDC chairman is the highest government official in the country. In reality, the chairman holds absolute authority in governing the country.

Powers and responsibilities[edit]

Here are the duties and functions of the Chairman of the National Defense Commission as the supreme leader of North Korea.

  • Direct the overall affairs of the State;
  • Personally guide the work of the National Defence Commission;
  • Appoint or remove key cadres in the field of national defence;
  • Ratify or rescind major treaties concluded with other countries;
  • Exercise the right of granting special pardon;
  • Proclaim a state of emergency, a state of war and mobilization order within the country.

At the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly, newly installed SPA President Kim Yong-nam spoke about the powers of the NDC Chairman:[2]

"The NDC chairmanship is the highest post of the state with which to organize and lead the work of defending the state system of the socialist country and the destinies of the people and strengthening and increasing the defense capabilities of the country and the state power as a whole through command over all the political, military and economic forces of the country. It is also a sacred, important post which symbolizes and represents the honor of our country and the dignity of the nation. For Kim Jong Il to continue to take the heavy responsibilities as NDC Chairman and lead the work of national defense for the supreme interests of the state is a requirement of the Korean revolution and a unanimous desire of the Korean people who have deeply felt his greatness in the practice of the protracted revolutionary struggle and who have cherished absolute

trust in him through this"
— Kim Yong-nam, 10th Supreme People's Assembly


Name Term Life span
Kim Il-sung 28 December 1972 – 9 April 1993 15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994 (aged 82)
Kim Jong-il 9 April 1993 – Incumbent (eternal Chairman) 16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011 (aged 70)

First Chairman[edit]

Name Term Life span
Kim Jong-un 13 April 2012 – Present 8 January 1983 – Present (age 32)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DPRK's Kim Jong Un elected first chairman of National Defense Commission". People's Daily Online. April 14, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ National Defense Commission- NK Leadership Watch