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Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea


Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
North Korea
Foreign relations

The Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (조선로동당 중앙위) is the leadership body of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). According to Party rules, the Central Committee directs the Party work between the Party Congresses. It is elected by the Party Congress itself, although Party conferences can be called to perform this duty as well. The current Central Committee, the 6th, was elected by the 6th WPK Congress in 1980.

The Central Committee, which is currently made up by more than 300 people between full members and alternate members, should meet at least once every year (the clause was every six months until 2010). However, no meeting at all was convened between the 21st Plenary Meeting of the Sixth Central Committee in December 1993 and the September 28, 2010 Plenary Meeting.


  • Functions 1
  • Politburo 2
  • Secretariat 3
  • Central departments 4
  • Plenums after 3rd Party Conference 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


The Central Committee, usually at its first plenum after having been elected by the Party Congress, elects in turn the Political Bureau (or Politburo) and the Presidium (or Standing Committee) of the Political Bureau, which is the paramount decisions-making organ. It also organizes the Rodong Sinmun.

Unlike many other ruling communist parties, the Central Committee doesn't elect the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, who is elected by the Party Congress directly.

Although it maintained a very important position under Kim Il-sung, holding frequent meetings and adopting key decisions (Kim Jong-il himself was first designated as Kim Il-sung's successor at the 8th Plenary Meeting of the Fifth Central Committee in February 1974), it lost almost all actual power since Kim Jong-il's takeover, with supreme authority shifting to the National Defence Commission as part of Kim Jong-il's Songun policy. One of the curious aspects of its long paralysis from 1993 to 2010 is that all members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau but Kim Jong-il died in the meantime, de facto nullifying the body.

In March 2013, after more than two years since the last, a plenary meeting of the Party Central Committee was convened prior to the Supreme People's Assembly session, as it was done under Kim Il-sung.[1]


The Politburo rules the Party while the Central Committee is not in meeting. It currently has 22 full members and 16 alternate members. It also has the power to propose or commend important state leaders, like the Premier, who are then elected by the Supreme People's Assembly.

The true day-to-day ruling body, however, is the Presidium of the Politburo, currently made up of four members, including supreme leader Kim Jong-un.


The Secretariat of the Central Committee is tasked with executive and administrative duties, particularly coordinating activities of the central departments. The Secretariat is made up by the Party First Secretary plus other secretaries of the Central Committee. Each secretary has responsibility over fields like foreign affairs, education and so on, with sometimes overlapping concerns covering multiple departments, although a secretary can be concurrently department director (for instance, Kim Kuk-thae was both secretary for cadres and director of the Personnel Department).

Current secretaries are: Kwak Pom Gi.

Central departments

The authority of the WPK Central Committee is enforced through a number of at least 15 departments charged with specific tasks. Department directors are usually Central Committee members themselves (directors of most important departments can also be Politburo or Secretariat members). There follows a list of central departments and their heads.

The Kim Yong-ju as department director in 1974, and never officially relinquished that post; therefore, its first deputy director managed OGD daily affairs. It is currently led by leader Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui. This marks the third consecutive head belonging to the ruling Kim family.

Similar to the OGD, the Administration Department oversees personnel appointments, paperwork traffic between the Central Committee and the National Defence Commission, and security affairs. It was merged into the OGD in 1990 and restored in 2007. Its director was Jang Song-taek from 2007 to 2013.

Other important departments include the Propaganda and Agitation Department (or Publicity and Information), the United Front Department (responsible for relations with Kim Il-sung Socialist Youth League, Korean Democratic Women's Union, General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, Union of Agricultural Workers' of Korea, etc.).

Current department directors include: Kim Pyong-hae (Cadres), Tae Jong-su (General Affairs), Kim Yang-gon (United Front), Ju Kyu-chang (Machine-Building), Paek Kye-ryong (Light Industry), O Il-jong (Military Affairs), Kim Jong-im (Party History), Chae Hui-jong (Archives), Choe Hui-jong (Science Education), Kim Yong-chun (Civil Defence), Kwak Pom-gi (Finance and Planning), Han Kwang-sang (Finance and Accounting) and Yun U-chol (Rodong Sinmun).

Plenums after 3rd Party Conference

  1. September 2010 Plenary Meeting
    • Date: September 28, 2010
    • Location: Pyongyang
    • Significance: Held on the sidelines of the 3rd Party Conference. Elected Politburo, Secretariat, Central Military Commission, Central Control Commission and department directors. First meeting attended by Kim Jong-un, who was elected vice-chairman of the Military Commission.
  2. March 2013 Plenary Meeting
    • Date: March 31, 2013
    • Location: Pyongyang
    • Significance: First meeting after the 4th Party Conference (April 11, 2012). Held in preparation of the 7th Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly (April 1). Kim Jong-un announced "a new strategic line on carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously". New members elected to the Politburo and the Central Auditing Commission. Adopted personnel changes to be submitted to the Supreme People's Assembly.

See also


  1. ^
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