North Korea recently established a new Central Committee agency called the “Organization Administrative Department” (OAD) that handles surveillance and “party control” over the country’s legal, security and police agencies, and Kim Jae Ryong, a former premier, has been appointed to head it, Daily NK has learned.

Last month, North Korean media reported that the Fourth Executive Policy Council Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee, which was presided over by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Aug. 5, had “reviewed and deliberated” the “establishment of a new department in the Party’s Central Committee.”

State media then reported that the leadership had “deliberated and decided” on “the issue of establishing a new department in the Central Committee and proposed its function and role” during the 16th Politburo Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee, which was held on Aug. 13.

North Korean state media did not reveal the name of the new department, simply mentioning that the new agency will “protect the dignity and interests of the state and people, reliably guarantee and maintain the political stability and order of society, and strenuously protect our class stronghold and socialist construction.”

The source, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told Daily NK that the objectives of the new department are to “strongly protect the Party’s monolithic leadership system by rectifying discipline and order through an organization that can dominate and guide legal, prosecution, security and police agencies.”

Kim Jae Ryong inspecting construction sites in Pyongyang. / Image: KCNA

According to the source, the new department’s director, Kim Jae Ryong, “is a typical Party official who has a high degree of loyalty to the Party and is well acquainted with Party policies.” The source further noted that Kim is part of a “pure faction” that has absolutely no connection with the country’s legal, prosecution, security and police agencies.

After being dismissed from the premiership on Aug. 13, Kim reportedly became a party vice chairman and the head of an unspecified Central Committee department. The source’s report confirms that Kim has in fact become the head of the newly-formed OAD.

“The role of the new OAD is similar to that of the Party’s Central Administrative Department, which was headed by Jang Song Taek,” the source said. “That being said, Jang made 90% of the decisions while heading the Central Administrative Department…[however], the authority wielded by Kim Jae Ryong under the OAD is limited.”

According to the source, Kim Jae Ryong must report all issues raised in the department to Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. The source told Daily NK that Kim Jae Ryong will report “only 1%” of the issues handled by the department directly to Kim Jong Un; all the rest – big and small – will go straight to Kim Yo Jong.

“Unlike Jang Song Taek, who reigned with authority above that of [the country’s] legal institutions, Kim Jae Ryong does not have the right to make final decisions and is essentially a foot soldier for Comrade Kim Yo Jong [because he just] reports on the department’s monitoring and surveillance activities of legal, prosecutor, security and police agencies,” he said.

Following the decision to create the new department, North Korean authorities are creating new party departments on the provincial, municipal and county levels to oversee legal, prosecution, security and police agencies.

“[The North Korean authorities] plan to complete organizational and human resources-related activities by Sept. 15,” the source said. “I’m hearing that there will be a massive inspection conducted on legal, prosecutor, security and police agencies after Oct. 10 [Party Foundation Day].”

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Ha Yoon Ah is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about her articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.