DPRK has quietly amended its Constitution

12 10 2009

Mansudae Assembly HallOn 23 September, Radio Free Asia reported that the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea had revised the country’s constitution in April by dropping the use of the term “communism” and replacing it with “Songun,” or Military-first policy, for the first time in its history.

The full Korean text of the revamped constitution is now posted on Naenara (내나라), a North Korea website providing information on North Korean politics, tourism, foreign trade, arts, and IT issues. Strangely, Naenara continues to provide the old English version of DPRK Constitution here.

A rough English translation as offered by Northeast Asia Matters in their report here but it mistranslates Article 8 of the Constitution, calling “근로인민의 리익” or “the interests of the workers” as “human rights”, which is not the same.

As for dropping the word 공산주의  or “communism”, indeed is happened in Articles 29 and 40 (Economy and Culture respectively). The mystery is in why Naenara keeps the old English version, where the sensational new Section 2 of Chapter VI “Chairman of the National Defence Commission” is missing?

The new version of DPRK Constitution is six articles longer than the previous version adopted in of 1998. Here are the new articles of Section 2 Chapter VI as translated by Northeast Asia Matters:

Section 2. Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission

Article 100. The chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] is the supreme leader [ch’oego ryo’ngdoja] of the DPRK.

Article 101. The term of office of the chairman of the DPRK NDC shall be the same as that of the SPA.

Article 102. The chairman of the DPRK NDC is the supreme commander of the overall armed forces of the DPRK and commands and directs all the armed forces of the state.

Article 103. The chairman of the DPRK NDC shall have the duties and authority to:
1. Guide overall affairs of the state.
2. Directly guide the work of the NDC.
3. Appoint or dismiss important cadres of the national defense sector.
4. Ratify or abrogate significant treaties concluded with other countries.
5. Exercise the right to grant special pardons.
6. Declare a state of emergency and state of war in the country, and issue orders for mobilization.

Article 104. The chairman of the DPRK NDC shall issue orders [myo’ngnyo’ng].

Article 105. The chairman of the DPRK NDC shall be accountable for his work to the SPA.