North Korea calls time on Communism as ideals are 'hard to fulfil'

Kim Jong-il

Supreme:The form of address for North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il has changed in the revamped constitution

North Korea has officially dropped Communism.

In a revamp of its constitution, its traditional ideology has been replaced with the idea of ‘Songun’, the principle of putting the military first.

The new constitution has also changed the official form of address for the country’s leader Kim Jong-il.

The 67-year-old chairman of the National Defence Commission was known as ‘Dear Leader’ by the country’s media.

But now he is referred to as ‘Supreme Leader’.

‘The chairman is the highest general of the entire military and commands the entire country,’ according to a text of the constitution brought in by the reclusive North in April and only now released by the South Korean government.

It was April when Kim returned to the public eye after being felled by what is widely speculated to have been a stroke the previous August.

That in turn was followed by the hermit state's second nuclear test, mounting threats against a hostile world and the launch of a 5-month campaign to boost its broken economy.

The new constitution adds assurances for protecting human rights, even though North Korea has one of the world's worst records.

Experts on the North's state propaganda said the military first ideology has helped Kim dodge responsibility for the country's sharp economic decline by arguing that heavy defence spending was needed to overcome threats posed by the United States.

It has also meant that the bulk of the North's limited resources have gone into beefing up a million-strong military at the expense of the rest of the population who make up one of Asia's poorest societies.

South Korean media quoted an official from the North as saying it made the constitutional change because it felt the ideals of Communism are ‘hard to fulfil'.