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Kim Jong Un Visits Songdowon International Children’s Camp (revised)

5 Jul
Kim Jong Un tours the Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wo'nsan, Kangwo'n Province (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the Songdowon International Children’s Camp in Wo’nsan, Kangwo’n Province (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 6 July (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited Songdowon International Children’s Camp in Wo’nsan, Kangwo’n Province.  Attending his visit to the camp were Han Kwang Sang (Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Finance and Accounting Department), Lt. Gen. Ma Won Chun (Director of the NDC Design Department and deputy [vice] director of the WPK Finance and Accounting Department) and Kim Yo Jong (Deputy [vice] Director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department and KJU’s sister).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his guidance and observation of an island landing drill by the three service branches of the Korean People’s Army.

KJU toured various sites at the camp.  He looked at a waterside and wading pool and remarked that the “longer he watched it, the more wonderful it looked, adding children would like it.”  According to KCNA he said “I am very pleased to see it as it was made by our own efforts and with our own technique. It looks nice with the brand of ‘Taedonggang’ ” and  “appreciated its successful installing, instructing officials to let the next-term campers fully enjoy it.  At a dive tour he “told officials to ensure a proper filtering of water so that the outdoor wading pool may be full of clean water.”  KJU toured a house of mirrors and “was pleased to see the number of playing grounds for children increasing at the camp day by day.” He also remarked that “this cheerful laughter of children would instill the conviction of victory and optimism into our people.”

Waterslides and swimming area at Songdowon International Children's Camp (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Waterslides and swimming area at Songdowon International Children’s Camp (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of Songdowon Railway Station.  Also seen in attendance is Director of the NDC Design Department Ma Won Chun (left) and WPK Finance and Accounting Department Director Han Kwang Sang (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of Songdowon Railway Station. Also seen in attendance is Director of the NDC Design Department Ma Won Chun (left) and WPK Finance and Accounting Department Director Han Kwang Sang (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with managers, teachers, functionaries and other employees of Songdowon International Children's Camp (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with managers, teachers, functionaries and other employees of Songdowon International Children’s Camp (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un also visited an aquarium at the camp and was “pleased that species and numbers of rare fishes including shark increased.”  During a tour of the beach, according to KCNA “he told officials to provide the camp with sailboats so that campers may enjoy marine sports.”

He also looked at the construction of a railway station designated for the camp’s use and said “now that direct train service is available for campers and arrangements have been made for its operation, it is necessary to build the station well to suit the nature of its service, while providing the best convenience of the campers.”  KJU also underscored “the need to manage well the camp which was built by the party with much effort” and issued tasks “to be fulfilled to manage and operate it.”  At the end of his visit he posed for a commemorative photo with with the camp’s managers and employees.

The railway station reported as being “under construction” is possibly renovation work at a station used by KJU’s father, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).  This railway station sits across a canal from the Kim Family’s Wo’nsan residential compound.  KJU has generally favored availing himself of exclusive roads and tunnels, as well as airplanes, to travel around the country, it’s likely he has foregone traveling by rail, thus reducing the need for an exclusive railway station to travel to the Wo’nsan compound (other members of the Kim Family and DPRK elites travel to the compound by car).  On the other hand, he may have ordered a new railway station to be constructed as part of the renovation of Songdowon International Children’s Camp.  If that is the case then it is highly likely the station was constructed on the same railway line on which the VIP station sits.

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(Photo: Google image).

View of the VIP Railway Station and Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wo'nsan, Kangwo'n Province (Photo: Google image).

View of the VIP Railway Station and Songdowon International Children’s Camp in Wo’nsan, Kangwo’n Province (Photo: Google image).

Back-to-Back DPRK Delegations Visit Europe

2 Nov
DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kung Sok Ung (R) shakes hands with Peter van Tuijl (L) in The Hague on 20 October 2013 (Photo: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).

DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kung Sok Ung (R) shakes hands with Peter van Tuijl (L) in The Hague on 20 October 2013 (Photo: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).

DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kung Sok Ung and delegation of the DPRK Foreign Ministry returned to the DPRK on 2 November (Saturday) after a 17-day visit to European countries.  Many of Kung and the delegation’s appearances in Europe were not publicized.  Kung visited The Hague during 18 to 20 October.  During his stay in Holland he met with officials from the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, including the executive director of its global secretariat Peter van Tuijl.  From 24 to 27 October Kung Sok Ung visited Spain, where the DPRK recently opened an embassy.  On 25 October Kung met with Spain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Gonzalo de Benito, Director-General of North America, Asia and the Pacific Ernesto de Zulueta and Spain’s Ambassador to the DPRK and ROK Luis Arias.  According to the Spanish government, Kung and other DPRK officials “declared its interest in increasing bilateral relations and in exploring future routes to collaboration in all spheres.”  Spanish officials declared their strong position against nuclear proliferation and the need for Pyongyang to contribute to peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the East Asia region, complying with its international obligations” and  “encouraged the DPRK to continue taking tangible steps, following on from the reopening of the Kaeso’ng industrial complex, towards reducing the tension between the two Korean countries.”  Spanish officials also told Kung that they hoped meeting with him would contribute to “supports the international community’s efforts to achieve peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”

On the same day Kung Sok Ung returned to the DPRK, a delegation of the Korean Workers’ Party led by KWP International Affairs Department Deputy Director Ri Yong Chol departed Pyongyang to attend a meeting of communist parties in Portugal and to visit France.

Mongolian President Departs the DPRK

31 Oct
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam prior to departing from Pyongyang airport on 31 October 2013 after a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA)

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam prior to departing from Pyongyang airport on 31 October 2013 after a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA)

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation departed the DPRK on 31 October (Thursday) after a four day visit.  Attending the farewell ceremony were Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President), Pak Ui Chun (DPRK Foreign Minister), Ri Ryong Nam (Minister of Foreign Trade), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), Son Kwang Ho (Vice Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kwak Il Ryong (Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport), Hong Kyu (DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia), Kim Jin Bom (Chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association and Vice Chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries), other DPRK officials and staff members of the Mongolian Embassy in the DPRK.  According to KCNA when President Elbegdorj and his wife “arrived at the airport, children of the Mongolian embassy presented bouquets to him and his wife” and that Elbegdorj “exchanged farewells with the officials.”

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) and his wife Khajidsurengiin Bolormaa (R) wave before departing the DPRK on 31 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) and his wife Khajidsurengiin Bolormaa (R) wave before departing the DPRK on 31 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Senior DPRK officials acknowledge President Elbegdorj's departure at Pyongyang Airport on 31 October 2013.  Among those in attendance are Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (4th R), Ri Ryong Nam (3rd R), Pak Ui Chun (2nd R) and Kim Yong Nam (R) (Photo: KCNA).

Senior DPRK officials acknowledge President Elbegdorj’s departure at Pyongyang Airport on 31 October 2013. Among those in attendance are Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (4th R), Ri Ryong Nam (3rd R), Pak Ui Chun (2nd R) and Kim Yong Nam (R) (Photo: KCNA).

Prior to his departure President Elbegdorj toured the Munsu Swimming Complex where he watched a volleyball game between the 25 April Sports Team and Mongolia’s Enacoree Sports Team.  President Elbegdorj also visited Kim Il Sung University on Thursday.  Elbegdorj and members of the Mongolian delegation delivered flowers to the statue of late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) on the university’s campus.  Elbegdorj also delivered a speech to KIS University faculty and students.  According to KCNA, Elbegdorj said that “he was pleased to visit the university and referred to the politics, economy, history, culture and foreign policy of Mongolia.”  Elbegdorj noted that “President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) visited Mongolia two times” and said “that the relations between the two countries have a long history and tradition. He expressed the belief that the friendly relations between the two countries associated with the wisdom and efforts of the leaders of the elder generation would grow stronger.”

President Elbegdorj presented a gift to Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) on Thursday which was received by SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam.  When Elbegdorj and the Mongolian delegation departed from Pyongyang airport later the same day, he had not met with Kim Jong Un, despite widespread expectations that the DPRK leader would hold his first summit meeting with a foreign head of state since assuming power between 2011 and 2012.  However, neither Mongolia nor the DPRK ever officially claimed that Kim Jong Un would receive Elbegdorj.  In reporting about President Elbegdorj’s arrival in and departure from Pyongyang, KCNA clearly said Elbegdorj and senior Mongolian government officials visited “at the invitation of Kim Yong Nam.”  In reporting about Elbegdorj’s departure from Mongolia to the DPRK on 28 October, a news release from the Office of the President said that he would “hold official meetings and negotiations with the DPRK leaders and other high-level government officials to discuss issues of bilateral relations as well as regional and international matters of mutual concern.”  News.MN reported that President Elbegdorj “will have individual meetings with the North Korean leader and high ranking officials for official talks on mutual relations between Mongolia and DPRK as well as regional and international issues.”  InfoMongolia noted in its 28 October report that Elbegdorj’s visit “was the first head of state to visit since Kim Jong-un took power,” but also reported that Elbegdorj “will meet with high-level officials from the Government and ruling party.”  None of these news items explicitly reported that Elbegdorj and Kim Jong Un would actually meet–the only report from News.MN which referred to “the North Korean leader” did not mention Kim Jong Un.

The perception that an Elbegdorj-Kim summit meeting would be held derived from non-Mongolian and non-DPRK media reports in which anonymous sources claimed that a summit was on the agenda.  A 22 October Kyodo World Service report filed from Ulan Bator claimed that during his visit Elbegdorj was “to discuss bilateral and regional affairs” with Kim Jong Un.  Kyodo cited an unnamed “Mongolian government source.”  On 24 October the Wall Street Journal reported that “North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is set to meet his first head of state since coming to power nearly two years ago when Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visits Pyongyang next week” and that “the Mongolian Embassy in Seoul confirmed the visit would take place but declined to comment further.”  However the WSJ report was not clear whether the Mongolian Embassy in ROK “confirmed” an Elbegdorj-Kim meeting or simply “confirmed” that Elbegdorj was traveling on an official state visit to the DPRK.  On the day Elbegdorj and the senior Mongolian delegation arrived in Pyongyang, Yonhap reported that Kim Jong Un was “set to hold talks with the visiting Mongolian president this week” and that “we have been informed that First Secretary Kim and the Mongolian president were scheduled to hold talks today or tomorrow.”

Kim Jong Un’s last reported meetings with senior officials of foreign governments, including Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, occurred in July 2013 when the DPRK marked the anniversary of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War armistice.  Prior to that, the last significant interaction Kim Jong Un had with foreign government officials was in December 2012 when he received a senior delegation of the Communist Party of China [CPC] led by CPC Political Bureau Member Li Jianguo.  Kim Jong Un does not appear to be completely allergic to interacting with foreign visitors, having met twice with former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman, as well as meeting with the management of Russia’s Orchestra of the 21st Century, top International Weightlifting Federation officials and interacting at several events with foreign diplomats and NGO heads stationed in the DPRK.  Kim Jong Un’s first and only reported meeting with a foreign head of state occurred in September 2011 when Kim Jong Il received and met with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone.

Mongolia, DPRK Sign Economic Agreements

29 Oct
Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga (L) shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam (R) after signing an economic cooperation agreement at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga (L) shakes hands with DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam (R) after signing an economic cooperation agreement at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Following a meeting of senior DPRK and Mongolian government officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday), the two countries signed two economic agreements, along with a technology exchange agreement.  DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga signed a cooperation agreement on industry and agriculture.  Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold signed a cooperation agreement on cultural and sports exchanges and tourism.  DPRK Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport Kwak Il Ryong and  Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold signed an agreement on cooperation in the road and transportation sectors.  Jong Song Chang Deputy (vice) General Director of the DPRK General Bureau of Software Industry and Ambassador Ganbold on behalf of theMongolian IT, Post and Telecommunications Bureau signed a 2013 to 2015 technology exchange agreement “in the field of IT.”

DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga sign an economic cooperation agreement in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga sign an economic cooperation agreement in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Chair of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold sign an agreement on sports and cultural exchanges and tourism in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Chair of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold sign an agreement on sports and cultural exchanges and tourism in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Deputy Director-General of the DPRK General Bureau Software Industry Jong Song Chang and Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold sign a technology exchange agreement effective from 2013 to 2015 in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Deputy Director-General of the DPRK General Bureau Software Industry Jong Song Chang and Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold sign a technology exchange agreement effective from 2013 to 2015 in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA screen grabs).

Mongolian President Arrives in Pyongyang and Meets with Kim Yong Nam

28 Oct
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) shakes hands with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam (R) after arrving at Pyongyang Airport on 28 October 2013 for a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (L) shakes hands with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam (R) after arrving at Pyongyang Airport on 28 October 2013 for a four-day visit to the DPRK (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a delegation of senior Mongolian government officials arrived in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday) for a four-day visit ending on 31 October.  President Elbegdorj’s visit will commemorate the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Mongolian relations and lead to the expansion of the countries’ bilateral ties.  Greeting Elbegdorj at Pyongyang Airport were Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Pak Ui Chun (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Ri Ryong Nam (Minister of Foreign Trade), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), Son Kwang Ho (Vice Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kwang Il Ryong (Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport), Hong Kyu (DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia), Kim Jin Bom (Vice Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and Chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association) and other DPRK officials.  Also greeting President Elbegjorj at the airport was Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold.

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj reviews an honor guard of the KPA and Worker-Peasant Red Guards (L) and receives a floral bouquet after arriving in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj reviews an honor guard of the KPA and Worker-Peasant Red Guards (L) and receives a floral bouquet after arriving in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Elbegdorj was accompanied by his wife, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold, Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga, Secretary General of the National Security Council Tsagaandari Enkhtuvshin, Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Tserendejid Byambajav, Vice Minister of Road Transport Khabshai Erjan,  Presidential National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor Lundeg Purevsuren, Presidential Advisor for Mass Liaison and Mass Policy Amgalanbaatar Ganbaatar,  Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Pureb Altangerel and other Mongolian government officials.  During the welcoming ceremony for the Mongolian delegation, President Elbegdorj reviewed an honor guard consisting of the KPA’s three service branches and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards.  Representatives of DPRK women workers and children of Mongolian diplomatic staff stationed in the DPRK presented floral bouquets to Elbegdorj and his wife.

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation (R) meet with Kim Yong Nam and senior DPRK officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation (R) meet with Kim Yong Nam and senior DPRK officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Following the delegation’s arrival, Elbegdorj and senior Mongolian officials met with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.  Attending the meeting from the DPRK were Pak Ui Chun, Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kim Jong Suk (Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries), Pak Kil-yo’n (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), Kwang Il Ryong, Hong Kyu and other DPRK officials.  According to KCNA, “both sides exchanged views on the issue of boosting the bilateral relations of friendship and other issues of mutual concern” during the meeting and the “talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.”

KIS Youth League Delegation Meets PRC Vice President

19 Oct
Jon Yong Nam (L), Chairman of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee, shakes hands with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2013 (Photo by Xie Huanchi, Xinhua News Agency).

Jon Yong Nam (L), Chairman of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee, shakes hands with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2013 (Photo by Xie Huanchi, Xinhua News Agency).

A delegation of the Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) Socialist Youth League [KISYL] met Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao iin Beijing on 18 October (Friday).  The KISYL delegation was led by Jon Yong Nam, Chairman of the KISYL Central Committee.  During the meeting,  Jon told Li that “the DPRK stands ready to increase the exchanges and cooperation between youths of the two countries to further promote bilateral relations.”  Li Yuanchao said that “China and DPRK are friendly neighbors, and that youths are the inheritors and builders of bilateral relations” and he hoped “that the two countries will expand youth exchanges to ensure that the friendly relations between the two countries will continue and flourish.”  According to KCNA, Li said that “that the Korean people are making great achievements in the drive to develop economy and improve the standard of people’s living under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n)” and that he hoped “the young people of the two countries would boost the traditional relations of friendship provided by the revolutionaries of the elder generations.”

On 17 October the KISYL delegation visited Dalian University of Technology and attended a meeting with the university’s faculty and students and a concert by Chinese performers and members of the art propaganda squad of the KISYL Central Committee.  During the meeting, participants said “the DPRK-China friendly and cooperative relations provided and brought into bloom by President Kim Il Sung, leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and Chinese revolutionaries of elder generations have long-standing historical roots and tradition” and “noted that the friendship and exchange between the youth of the DPRK and China grow stronger day by day amid the deep concern of the top leaders of the two countries.”  Speakers at the meeting also said that “that the youth are flowers of the country and nation and proud masters of the future” and “expressed the belief that the traditional DPRK-China relations of friendship would further develop by the common efforts of the youth of the two countries.”  The concert included performances of DPRK songs  “Sng of General Kim Il Sung,” “Thinking of the General,” “Let Youth Run Like [an] Express Train (instrumental)” and “Our Leader Loved by People” and Chinese songs “Red Flag Flutters High,” and “Beautiful Hometown.”  According to KCNA  “warm sentiment of friendship between the youth of the two countries pervaded the meeting venue.”

 

Kim Jong Un Attends Two Concerts

16 Oct
Kim Jong Un (C) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) applauds during a performance by Russia's Orchestra of the 21st Century, given to mark the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013.  Also seen in attendance is KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (C) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) applauds during a performance by Russia’s Orchestra of the 21st Century, given to mark the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013. Also seen in attendance is KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a pair of concerts on 15 October (Tuesday). One concert was given by Russia’s Orchestra of the 21st Century at the East Pyongyang Grand theater and the other was given by the Moranbong Band and Merited State Chorus (a.k.a. Merited State Choir).  Attending the concert of the Orchestra of the 21st Century were Kim Jong Un’s wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Ki Nam “creators and artistes of the art organizations of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] and art education institutions, teachers, students and other citizens in Pyongyang” and officials of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Pyongyang.  Attending the concert of the Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus were Director of the KPA General Political Department VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Ki Nam, Orchestra of the 21st Century Chief Conductor Pavel Ovsyannikov and the Orchestra’s manager Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to Munsu Water Park.

Kim Jong Un (R) talks with Manager of the Orchestra of the 21st Century Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova (L) and the orchestra's lead conductor Paval Ovsyannikov (C) at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (R) talks with Manager of the Orchestra of the 21st Century Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova (L) and the orchestra’s lead conductor Paval Ovsyannikov (C) at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Russian-based Orchestra of the 21st Century performing in a concert marking the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Russian-based Orchestra of the 21st Century performing in a concert marking the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Prior to the start of the Orchestra of the 21st Century concert, given to mark the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations, Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju greeted the orchestra’s management and recalled that his father, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) “watched the performance of the orchestra several times” and Kim Jong Un “appreciated the performing activities conducted by the orchestra, contributing to the development of the bilateral friendly relations.”  The orchestra performed songs from the opera Ruslan and Ludmilla, “Flying in the Sky over Russia,” “Forward towards Stars,” “Ardent Desire,” “Song of Comradeship” and other songs.  According to KCNA, “the artistes made a truthful artistic representation of the warm love of the Russian people for the country and their traditional custom and national emotion.”  After the concert Kim Jong Un congratulated the orchestra members and “met with the leading members of the orchestra and expressed thanks to them for presenting a splendid performance to the delight of the Korean people.”

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) attends a concert by the Moranbong Band and the Merited State Chorus in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013.  Also seen in attendance is Pavel Ovsyannikov (L) of the Orchestra of the 21st Century, Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova (2nd R) of the Orchestra of the 21st Century and VMar Choe Ryong Have (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) attends a concert by the Moranbong Band and the Merited State Chorus in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013. Also seen in attendance is Pavel Ovsyannikov (L) of the Orchestra of the 21st Century, Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova (2nd R) of the Orchestra of the 21st Century and VMar Choe Ryong Have (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The joint concert by the Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus began with “We Sing of the Party” and included “Ode to the Motherland,” “Mother Party Which Protected My Destiny,” “Our Future is Bright,” “Let’s Defend Socialism,” “His Great Name Is the Banner of Victory,” “Long Live the Workers’ Party of Korea” and other sons.  According to KCNA, “the audience was mesmerized by the performance” and  Kim Jong Un congratulated members of the two DPRK performance troupes.  After the concert Kim Jong Un met with the lead conducted or Orchestra of the 21st Century Pavel Ovsyannikov and the orchestra’s manager Natalia Ivonova Semyonova.  According to KCNA, Ovsyannikov “expressed sincere thanks to Kim Jong Un, saying that he invited the orchestra to watch the joint performance given by the Moranbong Band and the State Merited Chorus after appreciating the performance of his orchestra” and he “said in an excited tone that the joint performance was the performance of the highest level and a really splendid one full of dynamism, vigor and stamina.”  Kim Jong Un “expressed belief and expectation that artistes of the two countries would conduct joint performances and a lot of exchanges to contribute to enriching the mankind’s treasure house of culture and arts.”

Kim Jong Un (R) talks with Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova and Pavel Ovsyannikov after a performance by the Moranbong Band and the Merited Chorus in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (R) talks with Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova and Pavel Ovsyannikov after a performance by the Moranbong Band and the Merited Chorus in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Moranbong Band performs in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Moranbong Band performs in Pyongyang on 15 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Jon Yong Jin Presents Letter of Credence and Meets with Venezuelan Officials

10 Oct
DPRK Ambassador Jon Yong Jin (L) meets with the chairmen of the Venezuelan National Assembly Commission on Foreign Policy, Sovereignty and Integration Yul Jabour (C) and Julio Chávez (R) on 4 October 2013 (Photo: Prensa AN).

DPRK Ambassador Jon Yong Jin (L) meets with the chairmen of the Venezuelan National Assembly Commission on Foreign Policy, Sovereignty and Integration Yul Jabour (C) and Julio Chávez (R) on 4 October 2013 (Photo: Prensa AN).

DPRK Ambassador Jon Yong Jin visited Venezuela during 2 to 4 October.  Jon is the DPRK Ambassador to Cuba and Venezuela is one of Jon’s numerous nonresident postings in the Caribbean and South America.  On 2 October Jon was part of a group of foreign diplomats who presented their letters of credence to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros.  According to KCNA, Maduro “expressed the belief that the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries would grow stronger on the principle of mutual respect and in the bilateral interests.”

DPRK Ambassador Jon Yong Jin (C) and an unkown DPRK diplomatic official (L) meet with Yul Jabour (R), a chairman of the Venezuelan National Assembly's Commission on Foreign Policy, Sovereignty and Integration on 4 October 2013 (Photo: Cojedes-PSUV).

DPRK Ambassador Jon Yong Jin (C) and an unkown DPRK diplomatic official (L) meet with Yul Jabour (R), a chairman of the Venezuelan National Assembly’s Commission on Foreign Policy, Sovereignty and Integration on 4 October 2013 (Photo: ANTV/Cojedes-PSUV).

On 3 October, Jon and other DPRK officials met with the chairmen of the Venezuelan National Assembly’s Commission on Foreign Policy, Sovereignty and Integration, Yul Jabour and Julio Chávez.  According to ANTV, Jon Yong Jin expressed the DPRK’s support of Venezuela’s decision to expel three United States [US] diplomats from the country on 30 September and said “it was the measure of an independent country which we support.”  Jon also said that in the event of a US attack on Venezuela, the DPRK would “not hesitate to join the fight against the Empire to defend national sovereignty and the Bolivarian Revolution.”  Jon also expressed the DPRK’s rejection of “the interventionist policy being conducted by the US through its embassies.”  According to Prensa AN, Jon Yong Jin stated that the DPRK attaches a high priority to military affairs in its ideology and “that is why our nation has become a military power, whose driving force are the masses.”  Jon also remarked that the DPRK did not possess nuclear weapons to attack other countries, but a defensive measure “to stop the US intention to start a nuclear war” and that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) “said that if a single American bullet falls into our territory , we will launch a missile towards the island of Guam and another aimed at the White House .”

Yul Jabour told Jon that Venezuela attached “special importance” to expanding DPRK-Venezuela relations to “strengthen ties between the people against the ‘dangers that loom’ for those that who declare themselves anti-imperialist and defend their right to self-determination.”  Jabour “appreciated the support and solidarity” of the DPRK Ambassador and he said that the National Assembly was “developing the legal context to deepen relations between the two countries.”

 

DPRK Ambassador Presents Credentials to President of Iceland

8 Oct
DPRK Ambassador Pak Kwang Chol (L) presents his diplomatic credentials to Icelandic President in Reyjkavik on 2 October 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Iceland).

DPRK Ambassador Pak Kwang Chol (L) presents his diplomatic credentials to Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (R) in Reyjkavik on 2 October 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Iceland).

DPRK Ambassador Pak Kwang Chol (Pak Kwang-ch’o’l) presented his letter of credence to the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson in Reykjavik on 2 October.  Pak is resident DPRK Ambassador to Sweden and Iceland is one of his six nonresident missions.  According to the Office of the President of Iceland, during the meeting Grímsson and Pak discussed “discussed Iceland’s experience in fisheries and geothermal energy” and how about development training programs available through United Nations University program within the Icelandic Development Corporation.  According to KCNA, Grímsson “wished the DPRK successes in its efforts for improving the people’s well-being and achieving the socio-economic development, expressing the belief that the friendly relations between the two countries would continue to grow on good terms.”

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