North Korea revises Constitution to bolster leader Kim Jong Un's influence

In a photo taken and provided by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Aug 25, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the test-firing of a newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher at an undisclosed location.
In a photo taken and provided by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Aug 25, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the test-firing of a newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher at an undisclosed location.PHOTO: DPA

BEIJING (KYODO) - North Korea has revised its Constitution to bolster leader Kim Jong Un's power as head of state at the second session of its top legislative body this year on Thursday (Aug 29), official media reported.

The decision, made at the Supreme People's Assembly, is apparently aimed at boosting the influence of the current political system under Kim, as denuclearisation negotiations with the United States have remained at a standstill.

But the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not report that Mr Kim, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, attended the session of the assembly. Nuclear issues and diplomacy with the United States were not among the agenda items.

A new paragraph in the Constitution stipulates the chairman is authorised to promulgate ordinances of the assembly and major decrees and decisions of the State Affairs Commission and to appoint or recall diplomatic envoys to foreign countries, KCNA said.

The legal status of the chairman of the State Affairs Commission "representing our state has been further consolidated to firmly ensure the monolithic guidance of the Supreme Leader over all the state affairs", the news agency reported.

The State Affairs Commission is North Korea's highest decision-making organ.

At their June 30 meeting at the inter-Korea truce village of Panmunjeom, Mr Kim agreed with US President Donald Trump that Washington and Pyongyang would resume stalled talks within weeks, but they have yet to be held.

North Korea, meanwhile, has repeatedly test-fired new weapons in recent months. On Saturday, it launched two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, in Pyongyang's seventh round of such launches since July 25.

 

In April, North Korea held a session of the Supreme People's Assembly. It was the first time since 2014 for the nation's top legislative body to convene for a second time during the same year.