Changes in North Korea: Analysis of 2019 Constitution amendments and live-TV screenshots

The lecture deals with the recent changes in the North Korean Constitution which both formalize the concentration of power in Supreme Leader's hands and signify North Korea's abandonment of the erstwhile army-first policy. It will also present an analysis of the recent Pyongyang TV reports.

Professor Sergei O. Kurbanov. Foto: Kurbanov

Professor Sergei O. Kurbanov is Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Study of Korea at the St.-Petersburg State University. Foto: Kurbanov.

Constitutional amendments in 2019

The history of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea lasted so far for 72 years. During this relatively short historical period, the text of its Constitution was changed 10 times. The first Constitution was adopted on September 8, 1948. The last two constitutional amendments were added in 2019, even twice.

Want to make the state police more peaceful

The amendments in 2019 were not noticed by most foreign observers, while they contain very important changes demonstrating two principal trends in the development of the DPRK: an attempt to make the state policy more peaceful and concentration of power in the hands of Kim Jong Un.

While the latter trend is hardly surprising, the first one needs to be analyzed more thoroughly as it has resulted in abandonment of the army-priority policy seongun.

Changes in tecnologies and TV

The year 2019 has also demonstrated continuous changes in technologies and society of North Korea. Official mass media such as the Korean Central News Agency or the daily Rodong shinmun do not describe internal changes. Watching the North Korean Central Television programs attentively can provide an observer with really amazing information demonstrating that the real North Korea is far removed from our stereotyped image.

About professor Kurbanov

Professor Sergei O. Kurbanov is a full-time professor of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of the St.-Petersburg State University, Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Study of Korea.

His Ph.D. thesis (1992) described the Korean land tenure system of the Koryŏ period (tenth to fourteenth centuries) based on comparison between privately and officially published Korean medieval history texts. The Habilitation thesis (2005) presented the first Russian translation of the Confucian classic Book of Filial Piety and an analysis of a large number of Korean medieval and modern texts on Confucian morals.

He has published more than 100 works (including 5 monographs) about Korean history (medieval, modern, contemporary), philosophy, modern politics and economics of North and South Korea. He has been teaching more than 25 university disciplines covering various fields of Korean Studies.


Professor Vladimir Tikhov, Koria studies

Published Feb. 3, 2020 2:20 PM - Last modified Feb. 3, 2020 2:20 PM