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North’s legislative vote analyzed

Aug 14,2003
Pyeongyang apparently eliminated some core military leaders from its highest legislative body, the Supreme People’s Assembly, and invited experts in economics, foreign affairs and South Korea to participate, according to an analysis by the South Korean unification ministry and intelligence authorities yesterday. The election of 687 deputies to the five-year term of the 11th session of the Supreme People’s Assembly took place on Aug. 3.
According to the analysis, about half of the representatives were newly elected, replacing 343 members of the 10th session.
A group of the North Korean Army’s vice marshals and generals was eliminated from the legislative body. Eleven senior officers, including Vice Marshal Pak Ki-so, who is in charge of the defense of Pyeongyang, and General Kim Myong-guk, who commands the 108th Mechanized Corps, were not on the list of candidates and thus were not elected this year.
Of the 11 senior officers, four were commanding officers of the frontline corps. Replacing them was a younger generation of officers, mostly major generals and lieutenant generals.
North Korea’s power structure with the military at the center will remain unchanged, a Seoul official said, adding that the change appeared to be a generational shift.
According to the election results, the mechanized corps and frontline units elected political officers of their units as their representatives for the Supreme People’s Assembly.
Political officers are under the direct command of the General Political Bureau of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, rather than military commanders.
Nine foreign ministry officials were elected, including Kang Sok-ju, first deputy minister, and Pak Gil-yon, North Korean ambassador to the United Nations.
Senior officials of the governing Workers’ Party and the National Defense Commission maintained their assembly seats.


by Jeong Yong-soo / Ser Myo-ja


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