The Supreme People’s Assembly, or parliament, is officially the North’s highest body of sovereign power that can revise the constitution, approve the budget and make appointments to top official positions, including the National Defense Commission.
Its annual meetings make official the measures taken by the Presidium, which is headed by the North’s nominal head of state, Kim Yong-Nam, who ranks second after leader Kim Jong-Un. Following the death of Kim Jong-Il in 2011, Kim became interim leader. The Supreme People’s Assembly meets at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.
Kim Yong Nam was born in Central District, Pyongyang, on February 4, 1928. He studied at Kim Il-Sung University and Moscow State University. After graduating he worked as a teacher at the Central Party School. Kim began his political career in 1960 as a Deputy Director of the International Affairs Department, within the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party. He was elected Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1962. Other roles throughout his career have included Vice-Premier of the Administration Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has been President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly since September 1998, and is the country’s top emissary. His duties include receiving high ranking foreign diplomats, including credentials of Ambassadors, as well as representing the government overseas. Karim Dickie, Administrator of DPR-Korea New Zealand, met Kim Yong Nam during his 2013 visit to Pyongyang.