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Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국 내각총리
Kim Tok Hun
since 13 August 2020
Cabinet of North Korea
TypeHead of government
Member ofCabinet
NominatorSupreme People's Assembly
AppointerSupreme People's Assembly
Term lengthFive years, renewable
Inaugural holderKim Il Sung
Formation9 September 1948
DeputyVice Premier
Premier of the Cabinet
Revised RomanizationNaegang Chongni
McCune–ReischauerNaegak Ch'ongni

The premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Korean조선민주주의인민공화국 내각총리), commonly called the premier of North Korea, is the head of government of North Korea and leader of the Cabinet.

The premier is officially appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), which also appoints other members of the Cabinet on the nomination of the premier. The premier organizes and leads the Cabinet, and constitutionally represents the government of North Korea. The incumbent premier is Kim Tok Hun, who is also a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea.[1]


Originally, under the 1948 Constitution of the DPRK, the Premier was the highest state post in North Korea. 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, which replaced the premiership as the top state post. The executive presidency was created with Kim in mind, and he transferred to that post soon after the Constitution was promulgated. 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 [ja]], 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 his son 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 is officially elected by the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), which also has the right to recall the premier.[2] The premier also nominates the candidacies for other members of the Cabinet, including vice premiers, the cabinet chairman, various ministers and other cabinet members, which are then appointed by the SPA. A newly-appointed premier takes an oath of allegiance in the SPA on behalf of other cabinet members.[2]

The premier organizes and oversees the cabinet, and represents the government of North Korea.[2] The premier also attends the plenary meetings and the permanent committee meetings of the Cabinet.[2] The cabinet is charged with executing the policies decided by the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the office effectively has no policy-making authority of its own.[2]

The Premier is nominally part of a triumvirate overseeing North Korea's executive branch, alongside the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the President of the State Affairs Commission. According to the constitution, the SAC President, SPA Presidium chairman and Premier have 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 President (known as the chairman of the National Defence Commission before 2016) commands the armed forces. However, the SAC President is constitutionally defined as "the highest post in the state" and the country's supreme leader.

The Premier ranks as the lowest member of the executive triumvirate: significantly, Kim Jong Il was NDC Chairman without interruption from 1993 until 2011, and Kim Yong-nam was President of the SPA Presidium from 1998 to 2019, while there have been six premiers since Kim Il Sung's death.

List of office holders

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

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Assembly
Took office Left office Time in office
Prime Minister of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국 내각 수상
1 Kim Il Sung
9 September 1948 28 December 1972 24 years, 110 days 1st
Premier of the Administration Council of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국 정무원 총리
2 Kim Il
28 December 1972 30 April 1976 3 years, 124 days 5th
3 Pak Song-chol
30 April 1976 15 December 1977 1 year, 229 days
4 Ri Jong-ok
15 December 1977 25 January 1984 6 years, 41 days 6th
5 Kang Song-san
25 January 1984 29 December 1986 2 years, 338 days 7th
6 Ri Kun-mo
29 December 1986 12 December 1988 1 year, 349 days 8th
7 Yon Hyong-muk
12 December 1988 11 December 1992 3 years, 365 days 8th
(5) Kang Song-san
11 December 1992 21 February 1997 4 years, 72 days 9th
Hong Song-nam
21 February 1997 5 September 1998 1 year, 196 days 9th
Premier of the Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국 내각 총리
8 Hong Song-nam
5 September 1998 3 September 2003 4 years, 363 days 10th
9 Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
3 September 2003 11 April 2007 3 years, 220 days 11th
10 Kim Yong-il
(born 1944)
11 April 2007 4 June 2010 3 years, 84 days 11th
11 Choe Yong-rim
(born 1930)
4 June 2010 1 April 2013 2 years, 271 days 12th
(9) Pak Pong-ju
(born 1939)
1 April 2013 11 April 2019 6 years, 10 days 12th
12 Kim Jae-ryong
(born 1959)
11 April 2019 13 August 2020 1 year, 124 days 14th
13 Kim Tok Hun
(born 1961)
13 August 2020 Incumbent 3 years, 225 days 14th


Kim Tok-hunKim Jae-ryongPak Pong-juKang Song-sanKim Yong-ilHong Song-namKang Song-sanYon Hyong-mukRi Kun-moRi Jong-okPak Song-cholKim Il (politician)Kim il-sung

See also


  1. ^ "Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments: Korea, North - NDE". Central Intelligence Agency. 21 June 2018. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Socialist Constitution". Naenara. Retrieved 2 July 2023.