Premier of North Korea

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Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Pak Pong-ju

since 1 April 2013
Inaugural holderKim Il-sung
Formation9 September 1948
Emblem of North Korea.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
North Korea

The Premier of the Cabinet[1] (Chosŏn'gŭl총리; Hancha總理; MRChongni) is nominally the non-executive head of government of North Korea. The office is also alternatively known as Prime Minister of North Korea.[2] The current premier is Pak Pong-ju.[3]


Originally, under the 1948 Constitution of the DPRK, the Premier was a very important post and held actual power over the government. Kim Il-sung himself inaugurated the post, keeping it for 24 years until 1972, while the ceremonial role of the head of State rested in the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly.

The 1972 Constitution created the post of President of the DPRK for Kim Il-sung, transferring to it all the paramount power. The Premier was now the head of the Administration Council, but most of the powers of the former cabinet were passed to the Central People's Committee, the highest ruling council chaired by the president himself. The first premier after Kim Il-sung was his long-time ally Kim Il. The post was then officially known as Premier of the Administration Council (정무원 총리, jungmuwon chongni).

After Kim Il-sung died, the post of president remained vacant (officially Kim Il-sung was proclaimed Eternal President) as Kim Jong-il planned a new State reorganization. A constitution revision in 1998 abolished both the Central People's Committee and the Administration Council, re-creating the Cabinet.


The Premier represents and oversees the cabinet, which is charged with executing the policies decided by the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. The office has no policy-making authority of its own.

The Premier is nominally part of a triumvirate overseeing North Korea's executive branch, alongside the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (i.e. the head of State) and the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission (i.e., the commander-in-chief). On paper, each has powers equivalent to one-third of those of a president's powers in most presidential systems. The SPA presidium chairman conducts foreign relations, the premier handles domestic matters and heads the government, and the SAC chairman (known as the chairman of the National Defence Commission before 2016) commands the armed forces. In practice, however, the SAC chairman, which is constitutionally defined as the most pthough it was clear it is the lowest of the three: significantly, Kim Jong-il was NDC Chairman uninterruptedly from 1993 until 2011, and Kim Yong-nam has been President of the SPA Presidium since 1998, while the premiers have often changed.

List of Premiers of North Korea[edit]

The following is a list of premiers of North Korea since its founding in 1948.

Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Premier Term of office Election Head of State
Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg Kim Il-sung
9 September 1948 20 September 1957 1st SPA Kim Tu-bong
Kim Tu-bong.jpg
20 September 1957 23 October 1962 2nd SPA Choe Yong-gon
Choe Yong-gon.jpg
23 October 1962 16 December 1967 3rd SPA
16 December 1967 28 December 1972 4th SPA
Premier of the Administration Council of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Premier Term of office Election Head of State
KimIl1974.jpg Kim Il
28 December 1972 29 April 1976 5th SPA Kim Il-sung
Kim Il Sung Portrait-2.jpg
Pak Song-chol
29 April 1976 16 December 1977
Li Jong-ok.jpg Ri Jong-ok
16 December 1977 6 April 1982 6th SPA
6 April 1982 27 January 1984 7th SPA
Emblem of North Korea.svg Kang Song-san
27 January 1984 29 December 1986
Emblem of North Korea.svg Ri Kun-mo
29 December 1986 12 December 1988 8th SPA
Emblem of North Korea.svg Yon Hyong-muk
12 December 1988 24 May 1990
24 May 1990 11 December 1992 9th SPA
Emblem of North Korea.svg Kang Song-san
11 December 1992 21 February 1997
Emblem of North Korea.svg Hong Song-nam
21 February 1997 5 September 1998
Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Premier Term of office Election Head of State
Emblem of North Korea.svg Hong Song-nam
5 September 1998 3 September 2003 10th SPA Kim Yong-nam
Kim Yong-nam in Moscow.jpg
(since 1998)
Emblem of North Korea.svg Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
3 September 2003 11 April 2007 11th SPA
Emblem of North Korea.svg Kim Yong-il
(born 1944)
11 April 2007 9 April 2009
9 April 2009 4 June 2010 12th SPA
Emblem of North Korea.svg Choe Yong-rim
(born 1930)
4 June 2010 1 April 2013
Emblem of North Korea.svg Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
1 April 2013 9 April 2014
9 April 2014 Present 13th SPA

Vice Premier of North Korea[edit]

The Premier is represented by a number of vice premiers,[3] who act as a high-ranking executive assistant to the Premier.

They are: Im Chol-ung, Jon Kwang-ho, Kim Tok-hun, Ko In-ho, Ri Ju-o, Ri Mu-yong, Ri Ryong-nam, Ro Tu-chol, and Tong Jong-ho.[3]

Previous officer holders include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Constitution - The Cabinet". Naenara. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  2. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities, p. PA1552, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b c "Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments: Korea, North - NDE". Central Intelligence Agency. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  4. ^ "N Korea vice-premier 'executed'". 12 August 2015 – via
  5. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "North Korea executes vice premier, says Seoul - DW - 31.08.2016". DW.COM.