North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ministry of Public Security's Star Rises

National Defense Commission Member and Minister of Public Security, General Ju Sang-song (right) greets the new Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK in March 2010

The Ministry of Public Security‘s star is rising ahead of the 2nd session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly on 9 April (Friday).  Yonhap reports:

Footage from the official Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station showed on Monday evening that the Ministry of People’s Security was recently renamed in Korean to indicate that its status within the state has been elevated.

Yonhap links the MPS upgrade to its role in population control from the currency redenomination.  It also represents a long-held preference Kim Jong Il has demonstrated for Public Security in its neverending turfwar with the State Security Department.

Daily NK‘s Kim So Yeol has a comprehensive write- up on the MPS‘ upgrade:

Experts on North Korea interpret it that changing the PSA to the People’s Safety Ministry after ten years was in order to strengthen it as a tool for controlling the masses under the direct instruction of the National Defense Commission. The director of the new PSM is a relatively recent addition to the National Defense Commission, Ju Sang Sung.

In its April, 2009 constitutional review, the Supreme People’s Assembly moved to strengthen the authority of the National Defense Commission, a move which included adding Ju Sang Sung.

Cheong Seong Chang, a researcher of North-South relations at the Sejong Institute said in a telephone conversation with the Daily NK yesterday, “As an agency, the People’s Safety Agency was a department of the Cabinet, but now it is a ministry directly responsible to the National Defense Commission, and this has strengthened its power.”

“This measure was designed to strengthen state control over the people in order to cope with economic difficulties and social unrest due to the redenomination,” Cheong concluded.

You can read a previous posting on the MPS’  favored status here.

An affiliate of 38 North