Topic: Kim Yong Nam

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Kim Yong-nam (born 4 February 1928) is the current North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, a position held since 1998.

He is considered the de facto head of state of North Korea, as the officeholder of the Chairman of the Presidium. Although he is not de jure head of state of North Korea (as no such office exists), in his capacity as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, he has the role of accepting the credentials of ambassadors, conducting foreign relations and signing treaties. He has held this office since 5 September 1998, and he previously served as foreign minister from 1983 to 1998. Kim represents the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on all state visits and summits and receives visiting heads of state; in theory he, Premier Choe Yong-rim, and Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il form a tripartite executive, each having powers equal to a third of a president's, controlling foreign relations, government, and defense, respectively. In practice, Kim Jong-il is the effective ruler of the country, and the Chairman of the Presidium is considered a junior position.

Kim embarked on a two-week tour of Mongolia, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Singapore on 20 July 2007. On 18 March 2008, he embarked on a goodwill tour of four African nations. Arriving in Namibia on 20 March he was present for the inauguration of a new presidential residence that was built by North Korea, describing it as a "symbol of friendship" between the two countries; he also held talks with Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and signed an agreement on public health cooperation with Pohamba. He subsequently visited Angola, where he met with President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos on 24 March the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he met with President Joseph Kabila on 26 March and Uganda, where he met with President Yoweri Museveni on 29 March. He returned to North Korea on 1 April. Kim also attended the Beijing Olympics on 8 August 2008.

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