Kim Jong Un Votes in SPA Elections

9 Mar
Kim Jong Un casts his ballot at Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un casts his ballot at Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

DPRK state media reported on 9 March (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) voted in the election of deputies to the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA], the DPRK’s unicameral legislative body.  Accompanying him to the polling station were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [Vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Kim Yo Jong (Events Director in Kim Jong Un’s Secretariat Office and KJU’s younger sister) and other senior Party Central Committee officials.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at flight drills of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Air and Anti-Air Forces Unit #2620.

Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo'-cho'ng) votes in elections for the 13th Supreme People's Assembly at Kim Il Sung University of Politics in Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap).

Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng) votes in elections for the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly at Kim Il Sung University of Politics in Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap).

Kim Jong Un talks to SPA deputy candidate Maj. Gen. Kim Kwang Hyok, for whom KJU cast his ballot, in Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un talks to SPA deputy candidate Maj. Gen. Kim Kwang Hyok, for whom KJU cast his ballot, in Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un talks with Maj. Gen. Kim Kwang Hyok, commanding officer of KPA Unit #855.  Also seen in attendance are VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd R), Director of the KPA General Political Department and Member of the KWP Political Bureau Presidium, and Kim Kyong Ok (R), Senior Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department and Member of the KWP Central Military Commission (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un talks with Maj. Gen. Kim Kwang Hyok, commanding officer of KPA Unit #855. Also seen in attendance are VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd R), Director of the KPA General Political Department and Member of the KWP Political Bureau Presidium, and Kim Kyong Ok (R), Senior Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department and Member of the KWP Central Military Commission (Photo: KCNA).

The Chairman of the KPA Election Committee handed a ballot over to Kim Jong Un, who voted for Maj. Gen. Kim Kwang Hyok, identified as commander of KPA Unit #855.  Kim Jong Un met Maj. Gen. Kim, shaking hands with him and, according to KCNA “encouraging him to display a high sense of responsibility in the struggle for stepping up the combat preparations and bolstering up the combat capabilities, not forgetting even a moment the last instructions given by leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) while visiting the unit in the last period of his life.”  Kim Jong Un then inspected the KIS University of Politics, which is where his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, voted in the SPA election in March 2009.

Kim Jong Un tours the campus of Kim Il-so'ng University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un tours the campus of Kim Il-so’ng University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un tours the campus of Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014.  In attendance his sister Kim Yo Jong (annotated) (Photo: Hankyoreh/KCTV-Yonhap).

Kim Jong Un tours the campus of Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang on 9 March 2014. In attendance his sister Kim Yo Jong (annotated) (Photo: Hankyoreh/KCTV-Yonhap).

Overview of the Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang where Kim Jong Un cast his ballot in SPA elections in 2014 and his father, late leader Kim Cho'ng-il cast his ballot in his elections in March 2009 (Photo: Google image).

Overview of the Kim Il Sung University of Politics in east Pyongyang where Kim Jong Un cast his ballot in SPA elections in 2014 and his father, late leader Kim Cho’ng-il cast his ballot in his elections in March 2009 (Photo: Google image).

He toured a revolutionary history room and an exhibition hall about the university’s history.  According to KCNA, he said that “the university has creditably fulfilled its honorable mission and duty as the nation’s highest seat for training political officers of the KPA” and added “it is great honor and pride of the WPK and the people to have the Kim Il Sung University of Politics and its history will always remain shining along with the history of the WPK.”  He also toured the library, a hall for KPA service members and other places.  Kim Jong Un was described by KCNA as “greatly satisfied to learn that the university has created an excellent educational environment for training its cadets as versatile political officers and it is effectively using it.”  He also “appreciated the efforts made by the teaching staff while devoting all their wisdom and energies to training political officers.”  He remarked that “the university has a very important position and role in developing the party political work in the People’s Army as required by the modeling of the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism” and  “set tasks which would serve as guidelines for steadily improving the instruction and education, educational environment and the living conditions of the cadets.”  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un “expressed his expectation and conviction that teachers of the university would train more able all-round political officers strong in the party spirit, keenly aware of the sense of responsibility for training the backbones for carrying out the revolutionary cause of So’ngun (Military-First).”

Minister of the People's Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam casts his ballot for Kim Jong Un for SPA deputy  on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap).

Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam casts his ballot for Kim Jong Un for SPA deputy on 9 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap).

At Paektusan Constituency #111 where Kim Jong Un was on the ballot as a candidate for SPA deputy, KCNA reported that voters of sub-constituencies #30, #33, #11 and #15 “cast the ballots into the voting boxes, expressing their loyalty to Kim Jong Un who has developed the KPA into an invincible revolutionary armed forces” and also “pledged to further glorify the genuine people’s power under the uplifted banner of modeling the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, looking up to the portraits of smiling President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il.”  After voting KPA service members “presented cheerful dances full of pride and honor.”  According to KCNA the voting at Paektusan Constituency #111 “powerfully demonstrated the unshakable revolutionary faith and iron will of the army of the party of the Chuch’e type and the powerful revolutionary army of Kim Jong Un to glorify the exploits performed by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in the nation-building for all ages and remain loyal to the So’ngun (Military-First) revolutionary leadership of Kim Jong Un.”  Among those voting in Kim Jong Un’s district were Col. Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the SPA Presidium), VMar Ri Yong Mu (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission), Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security), Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security) and Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security Political Bureau).

Senior officials of the KWP, KPA and DPRK Government also voted in the SPA elections and greeted candidates and voters.  Kim Yong Nam (President of the SPA Presidium and titular head of state), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe T’ae Bok (KWP Secretary and Chairman of the SPA), Kim Yong Dae (Vice President of the SPA Presidium and Chairman of the Korean Social Democratic Party Central Committee), along other senior officials “met and encouraged the candidates for deputies and voters who have devotedly worked for the development of the DPRK with ardent loyalty and patriotic enthusiasm for the party, leader, country and its people” and “expressed belief that the voters would continue to creditably discharge their duties as citizens of the DPRK in the efforts to build the socialist country into the best thriving nation in the world and a paradise for the people under the wise leadership of supreme leader Kim Jong Un, ” according to KCNA.

Central Report Meeting Marks International Women’s Day

8 Mar
View of the platform at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, the venue for a central report meeting marking International Women's Day held on 8 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

View of the platform at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, the venue for a central report meeting marking International Women’s Day held on 8 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

A central report meeting marking International Women’s Day was held at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang on 8 March (Saturday).  Attending the meeting were Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium and presidium member of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland [DFRF] Central Committee), members of the Korean Democratic Women’s Union [KDWU], women of diplomatic missions and international organizations stationed in the DPRK and invited foreign guests.

Participants at a central report meeting marking International Women's Day, held in Pyongyang on 8 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA)

Participants at a central report meeting marking International Women’s Day, held in Pyongyang on 8 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Sun, Chairwoman of the KDWU Central Committee, delivered a report.  According to KCNA she said that “the history of over 100 years since the institution of the International Women’s Day is marked by international unity and solidarity that have been boosted among progressive women all over the world and a big progress made in the development of the international women’s movement.  The Korean women’s movement has covered the path of victory and glory under the wise guidance of the peerlessly great persons.”  Kim remarked that “President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) gave origin to the Chuch’e-based Korean women’s movement amid the flames of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle in his early years and provided brilliant traditions.  Kang Pan Sok, an indomitable revolutionary fighter, formed the Anti-Japanese Women’s Association under the energetic guidance of the President. This was a historic event in the Korean women’s movement.  After the liberation of the country the President formed the Democratic Women’s Union of Korea comprising broad range of women and made sure that the Law on Sex Equality was worked out and promulgated.  Kim Jong Suk, an anti-Japanese war hero, played the pioneer role in the development of the movement for the emancipation of women. She devoted her whole life to the emancipation of women.”

Kim also said that “Leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il)  authored many works, immortal programs to be held fast to in advancing the Korean women’s movement, and thus brought up women to be fighters devotedly defending the leader and women revolutionaries who actively contribute to accomplishing the revolutionary cause of So’ngun (Military-First).  A new heyday is being ushered in the DPRK under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n), the reporter said, stressing that he saw to it that Mother’s Day was instituted for the first time in the history of Korea.”  Kim Jong Sun “called on Korean women to fully display their stamina in the struggle for adding luster to the glorious history and tradition of the Chuch’e-oriented women’s movement in Korea under the great banner of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and for building the most powerful country and the people’s paradise on this land, true to the leadership of Kim Jong Un.”

DPRK State Media Seminar Held

8 Mar
KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Kim Ki Nam (3rd L) and DPRK media executives attend a media seminar in Pyongyang on 6 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Kim Ki Nam (3rd L) and DPRK media executives attend a media seminar in Pyongyang on 6 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

A seminar and meeting of DPRK state media was held on 6 March (Thursday) at the Central Youth Hall in east Pyongyang.  The meeting was held, according to KCNA, “to thoroughly apply the spirit of the 8th Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) to media campaign [s].”  In attendance was Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation [publicity and information] Department Kim Ki Nam, along with other DPRK media functionaries, writers, journalists and editors.  Papers were delivered “to explain and prove the originality, scientific accuracy and truth of the idea and theories contained in a speech made by supreme leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) at the 8th Conference of Ideological Workers of the WPK and clarify the issues of bringing about an epochal turn in media campaign by thoroughly applying the spirit of the conference.”

View of participants at the media seminar at the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang on 67 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

View of participants at the media seminar at the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang on 67 March 2014 (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Speeches were delivered by Ri Yong Sik (executive editor of Rodong Sinmun), Hwang Yong Bo (Chairman of the Central Broadcasting Committee), Ri Yong Chol (Executive Editor and Director of the KWP Publishing House), Jong Ri Jong (Executive Editor of Minju Joson) and Choe Sun Chol (Executive Editor of Chongnyon Jonwi).  According to KCNA these speakers said “Kim Jong Un’s work is a textbook of the party ideological workers’ life and struggle and an important guidelines to bring about a radical turn in media campaign as required by the new era of the Chuch’e revolution” and they “noted that to raise a strong wind for ideological campaign for dynamically conducting the drive to defend socialism is the basic way of vigorously promoting the grand drive for building a thriving nation.”  The DPRK media executives also said that “it is the main duty facing the media of the party to channel all efforts of the ideological work into firmly establishing the monolithic leadership system of the party.  To conduct the offensive style media campaign is an important requirement for enhancing the function and role of the party media in every way.”

The seminar speakers noted that “it is the main method of the revolutionary ideological offensive to open the gunfire of an ideological campaign and media campaign” and “called for making positive contributions to bringing earlier the final victory of the building of a thriving nation by giving full play to the mental power of all people through the powerful ideological campaign and information campaign.”

Kim Jong Un Attends KPA Air Force Drill

6 Mar
Kim Jong Un with airwomen after a drill by KPA Air and Anti-Air Force #2620 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un with airwomen after a drill by KPA Air and Anti-Air Force #2620 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reports on 7 March (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a drill of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #2620.  Also in attendance were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Col. Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Lt. Gen. Yun Tong Hyon (Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Gen. Ri Pyong Chol (Commander of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force), Lt. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Staff, KPA Supreme Command), Han Kwang Sang (Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Finance and Accounting Department), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Hong Yong Chil (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department) and Ma Won Chun (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department).  KJU’s last observed appearance was his visit to the Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory.

KCNA reported that when the drill commenced “airwomen fully demonstrated their aeronautics cultivated through their drive for carrying out the training order given by the Supreme Commander.”  Kim Jong Un noted that “all those who participated in the drill are women but they successfully conducted flight for combat despite bad weather” and “praised them for being very high in ideological and moral spirit and acquiring admirable flight skill as intended by the party.”  He met with the KPA airwomen to express “great satisfaction over the fact that they are prepared to be able airwomen and congratulated them on their success in the drill.”  He issued instructions for “further intensifying the flight training” and posed for a commemorative photograph with the drill’s participants.  During the photo-op he praised “them for having made full preparations to go into action.”

After the drill, Kim Jong Un he inspected KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #2620.  He visited the a revolutionary history classroom where, according to KCNA, he called that “President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng)  formed a unit with airwomen and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) showed deep loving care and paid deep attention to it.”  He said the unit “performed shining feats along with the development of the nation’s air force” and he “showed such warm loving care as making sure that ‘Song of Woman Pilot’ is created and sung” and noted “that it is pride of the WPK to have airwomen who have stoutly grown up under the wise leadership of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.”  He toured the unit’s quarters, a flight training room, mess, food storage and “various other places to take deep care of airwomen and service personnel’s living.”  He also met with a pilot couple where he learned “in detail about their service and life” and opined it was “very admirable [for] the couple flying in the sky to defend the country, regarding state affair[s] more important than family affair [s].”  He said they “are patriots to be proud of in the world” and posed for a commemorative photo.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed great expectation and conviction that the service personnel of the unit would perform shining military feats in the struggle to protect the socialist country.”

KPA General Political Department Director VMar Choe Ryong Hae (annotated) attending KJU's visit to KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #2620 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

KPA General Political Department Director VMar Choe Ryong Hae (annotated) attending KJU’s visit to KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #2620 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un’s visit to KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #2620 marked the first reported and observed appearance of VMar Choe Ryong Hae since 16 February.  According to FRNK and other ROK media, VMar Choe was arrested and detained by the Military Security Command on 21 February.  VMar Choe’s appearance at the flight drills and KJU’s inspection of the unit does not indicate that he was not arrested or detained by the MSC.  In the past, senior cadres have been held by the security services for interrogation (intended to serve as a warning to the cadre and his cohort) then eventually returned to their former positions.  There is an even chance that Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather in previous cases, exercised magnanimity with VMar Choe.

Australian National Expelled from DPRK After 2 Week Detention

2 Mar
Australian national John Short is shown writing a statement on his activities in the DPRK in Pyongyang on 1 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Australian national John Short is shown writing a statement on his activities in the DPRK in Pyongyang on 1 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

DPRK state media reported that Australian national John Short was expelled from the country following a two-week detention for “anti-DPRK religious acts.”  According to KCNA the 75-year old “admitted that his activities were criminal acts hurting the Korean people’s absolute trust in their leader, violating the independent right of the DPRK and offending its law, and deeply apologized for what he had done.”  Mr. Short was expelled from the DPRK “thanks to the tolerance of the law of the DPRK and in full consideration of his age,” according to KCNA.

Australian national John Short is shown reading a statement to DPRK authorities in Pyongyang on 1 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

Australian national John Short is shown reading a statement to DPRK authorities in Pyongyang on 1 March 2014 (Photo: KCNA).

KCNA released a four minute video which depicted Mr. Short reading his statement to DPRK authorities.  According to KCNA Mr. Short made a written apology on 1 March (Saturday) which said:

I am John Alexander Short living in Hong Kong and a citizen of Australia.

I violated the independent right and offended against the Law of the DPRK.

I knew that my actions would offend the independent right and would be against the law of the DPRK.

I wanted more Korean people to be Christians therefore I secretly spread Bible tracts written by me.

I heard from the T.V. and newspaper reports that the DPRK is the closest closed socialist country in the world.

I heard from the reports the religious freedom is not in North Korea. And that foreigners are not welcome to visit or attend for the Church.

In the process of hearing the reports I questioned if it was true.

In early 2012 I requested Mr. Paul Baek to translate my Bible tract into the Korean language. Mr. Paul Baek is a business man from south Korea.

I designed my Bible tracts in small size for spreading easier into Korea-DPRK.

I entered the DPRK in August 2012 and personally carried a few Bible tracts and my own personal Bible.

I was interested to see if I could possibly carry more on another occasion.

I committed the criminal act against the law of the DPRK by spreading my Bible tracts in Pyongyang underground station on the train.

My mind was to make sure that I could spread more of my Bible tracts on another occasion. After that my feeling was I could spread more easier next time.

In February 2014 I came as a tourist to DPRK to spread my Bible tracts in a larger quantity.

On February 16th I visited the Popun temple and committed a criminal act by secretly spreading my Bible tracts around the temple.

I deeply apologize for what I have done by spreading my Bible tracts on February 16th, the birthday of His Excellency Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il). The people of the DPRK regard February 16th as the greatest national holiday.

I now realize the seriousness of my insult to the Korean people on February 16th because I made the Korean people angry and for this I truly apologize.

I realize that my actions are an indelible hostile act against the independent right and law of the DPRK.

I request the forgiveness of the DPRK for my actions.

I am willing to bow down on my knees to request this tolerance of the DPRK and the Korean people.

I realize that the mass media of the USA and the western countries who say that the DPRK is the closed country and has no religious freedoms is inaccurate and wrong.

I have the decision to report to anyone my positive attitude of the reality of the DPRK.

I will tell the truth to my friends of the DPRK.

I will not commit any further criminal acts in violating the independent right and law of the DPRK.

Kim Jong Un Visits Pyongyang Weak-current Apparatus Factory

2 Mar
Kim Jong Un visits the Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un visits the Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reports on 3 March (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the Pyongyang Weak-current Apparatus Factory.  Also in attendance were Kang Kwan Il, Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department) and Hong Yong Chil (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at the 8th conference of KWP Ideology Officials.

Kim Jong Un talks with DPRK officials in front of an autograph monument at Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un talks with DPRK officials in front of an autograph monument at Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un’s visit began at a monument to Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and tours of the factory’s revolutionary history museum.  He toured the factory and was briefed about its manufacturing activities.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “highly praised its officials, scientists, technicians and workers for honoring national economy plans on all indices every year, bearing their behests deep in mind.”  He looked at the factory’s products and said that “the products of the factory have proved very efficient in practice and they are high in demand” and that ” the factory has been able to achieve successes in production in the past as it has solved all problems by dint of science and technology, keeping science and technology ahead of production.”  He expressed “satisfaction over the traits of attaching importance to science and technology prevailing in the factory” and instructed “to pay deep attention to the work for increasing the production of weak-current apparatuses and, at the same time, steadily improving their quality and fully guaranteeing trust in the products.”  Kim Jong Un was briefed about the factory’s research and development activities and was “pleased to learn that the employees of the factory are pooling their creative enthusiasm and wisdom and actively introducing latest science and technology, true to the intention of the party to research and develop new Korean-style modern weak-current apparatuses, thereby achieving big successes in the development of new products.”

Kim Jong Un links arms with a manger at the Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un links arms with a manger at the Pyongyang Weak Current Apparatus Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

According to KCNA he said that “it is necessary to independently develop new type ones which can hardly be found in any existing technological books from a Chuch’e-oriented viewpoint and stand with a high ambition to produce something which others do not venture” and that “the party has a very great expectation for the workers of the factory.”  Kim Jong Un also expressed “the hope and belief that all of them would become creators and developers of new technology, work miracles and perform exploits in the development and production of latest weak-current apparatuses.”

Choe Ryong Hae Rumored Under Arrest (Sundown, you better take care) [updated 3/3/14]

2 Mar

ryonghae3pc

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department, is rumored to have been placed under arrest.  Korea Times, citing a report from FRNK, reports that Choe was apprehended by personnel of the Ministry of State Security and Military Security Command early in the morning of 21 February.  His last observed appearances were a visit by senior KPA officials to Ku’msusan and a central report meeting, both marking the birth anniversary of late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).  Korea Times/FRNK also claimed that various work documents were confiscated from his home and his office (said to be at the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces).  FRNK‘s correspondents speculated that “Choe’s alleged arrest might have resulted from his failure to keep the state military’s morale closely attached to their leader Kim Jong-un” and that “Choe opposed some profitable state businesses whose control was transferred to administrative governments after the execution of Jang Song-thaek in December last year. It posed a direct challenge to directives assigned by Kim Jong-un.”  

On 25 February, Chosun Ilbo noted that the number of VMar Choe’s reported public appearances during 2014 were down and conjectured that he “is fading from view already.”  On 28 February, John Grisafi of NK News observed that VMar Choe failed to attend a meeting of ideological officials with Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) held in Pyongyang on 25 February    If reports about his arrest are accurate, this would not be Choe’s first run-in with the law.  In 1997 he was removed as 1st Secretary of the Kim Il Sung Youth League for, among other things, asset stripping and failing to report the revenue to the central party.

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd L) with Kim Jong Un (L) as KJU talks to senior KWP and DPRK Government officials after the KWP Political Bureau meeting.  (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd L) with Kim Jong Un (L) as KJU talks to senior KWP and DPRK Government officials after the KWP Political Bureau meeting. (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

FRNK reported that it received rumors of Choe Ryong Hae’s arrest from a source inside the DPRK on 27 February and another source based in Pyongyang on 28 February.  FRNK identified its source in Pyongyang as “the most reliable among the several channels which broke the news” and the Pyongyang source said in a telephone conversation that Choe “has disappeared; no, has been arrested.  It seems to have happened around 21 February and I will tell you a detailed story after I enquire about it further,” but the call was cut off.  Another “reliable source” detailed the circumstances of Choe’s arrest during a conversation held on 1 March and 2 March.

According to this source, at 6:00 am on 21 February “30 soldiers of the Security Command including the director of the police administration department of government buildings (which takes charge of guarding the People’s Armed Forces building, the war museum and private residences of general-grade officer) and the director of the political department took Choe Ryong Hae, who was preparing to go to work, from his house to some place.”  The source said that at 9:00 am on 21 February, the same number of Security Command personnel confiscated all of the documents and office fixtures in Choe’s office in the People’s Armed Forces building” and that “although the definite whereabouts of Choe are not known at present, it is know that he is in a state of confinement in the (Military) Security Command.”  The reasons for Choe’s arrest are “still not known, but the rumor of his ‘violating the leadership system of Comrade Kim Jong Un is spreading.”  FRNK reported that “multiple sources tell almost the same story about Choe’s arrest” and “analyses of why Choe is destined to be gotten rid of are different.”

One reason cited in Choe’s rumored arrest is that “there is an argument that the responsibility for not correctly establishing the leadership system of Kim Jong Un in the north Korean army was taken by Choe Ryong Hae.  It means that Choe Ryong Hae, who had the responsibility for inspiring a sense of loyalty to Kim Jong Un into solider, could not fulfill it.”  Another source in the KPA, which made this argument, said that “at the end of last year Major General Cho’n Cho’ng-gap, commander of the 1st Group of the Command of the West Sea Fleet made four patrol boats and the only destroyer at the West Sea [Yellow Sea] sink while pushing ahead with the so-called modernization of naval vessels, and for that he was shot to death on Kim Jong Un’s order.”  The same source within the KPA also said, “north Korea is a place where one should take responsibility, like Cho’n Cho’ng-gap, even one tried to work well but the result turns out badly.  Recently, it has been often said though lecture materials among other things, the leadership system of the party in the people’s army was not correctly established and it appears that the total responsibility for it has been taken by Choe Ryong Hae.”

Another source speaking to FRNK “argues that various kinds of business interests, which have begun to be transferred to the party and the cabinet at lightning speed after the execution of Jang Song Taek, have been held in check by Choe Ryong Hae until recent times; that is directly contrary to Kim Jong Un’s instructions and Choe was not free from that responsibility.”  FRNK also spoke with a trader in Dandong, PRC, who claimed to have visited the DPRK last week and said “at present the rumor of the adulterous relationship between a Korean resident in Japan named Yo’m So’l-mi and Choe Ryong Hae is becoming a top among cadres in Pyongyang.  I heard not infrequently of the scandal of Jang Song Taek and Choe Ryong Hae having shared a woman.”

FRNK concludes that having put “together these pieces of information and arguments, it is understood that Choe Ryong Hae being detained in Security Command of the army in Yo’nmot-tong, Pyongyang saddled with the responsibility for ‘violating the leadership system of Comrade Kim Jong Un’ or for ‘anti-party factional acts’ and he appears to have been removed from all posts.”

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