North Korea has amended its constitution in what can be described as an apparent attempt by Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, to consolidate power in the pariah Asian country.
As a result of the amendments ratified North Korea’s titular parliament, Kim has been formally named as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the country’s military, state broadcaster, KCNA, reports.
Kim, previously addressed as ‘Supreme Leader’, had initiated the process of his country’s constitution in July, and the move as been widely seen as possibly preparing for a peace treaty with the United States.
According to Choe Ryong Hae, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (Parliament), the constitution’s amendment and subsequent ratification confirms Kim’s mandate to represent North Korea in all affairs.
“Kim’s legal status as representing our state has been further consolidated to firmly ensure the monolithic guidance of the supreme leader over all state affairs,” Hae said.
The Presidium president had historically been the nominal head of state, but the new constitution said that Kim, as Chairman of the State Affairs Commission (SAC), a top governing body created in 2016, was the supreme representative of all the Korean people, which means head of state, as well as “commander-in-chief”.
Thursday’s constitutional amendments appear to confirm that North Korea’s legal system will now recognize Kim as head of state.
The new constitution authorises Kim to promulgate legislative ordinances and major decrees and decisions, and appoint or recall diplomatic envoys to foreign countries, KCNA said.