To mark the 53rd anniversary of Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership, DPRK state media aired another installment of the documentary film series General Kim Jong Il’s Matchless Patriotic Defense of the Country. The film splices together a variety of footage of Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) conducting field inspections of Korean People’s Army [KPA] units, KPA economic activity and arms and munitions factories. During scenes of his visits to arms factories, Kim Jong Il is shown touring an unknown weapons production facility during the early 2000s. In the scene KJI is shown standing next to a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile on a TEL (transporter-erector-launcher). Footage from the same visit also shows what is possibly the fabled KN-08 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. It is not clear where this visit occurred, although possibilities include one of the machine factories in Jagang (Chagang) Province, a building at the Sanum-dong Research Facility in northern Pyongyang, the Tae-sung Machine Factory outside Namp’o or some other factory under the Second Economy Commission (Second Economic Committee) or the Second Academy of Natural Sciences.
Ju Sang Song (Chu Sang-so’ng), who served as Minister of People’s Security from 2004 to 2011, appeared on Korean Central Television [KCTV] evening news on 26 July visiting the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on Mt. Taeso’ng in Pyongyang with other veterans of the Fatherland Liberation War (Korean War). Previously a four-star general (taejang), Ju appeared on the news wearing two stars on his shoulder board indicating he now holds the rank of Lieutenant General (chungjang). According to a 29 July report by Yonhap during the news broadcast, Ju is seen talking with other veterans in front of the memorials to Choe Hyon and Ryu Kyong Su. Ju joined the Korean People’s Army [KPA] in June 1951, after the outbreak of the Korean War, and later attended Kim Il Sung Military Academy. Ju held a number command positions in the KPA’s ground forces and was appointed to his first political office when he was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Committee at the 5th Party Congress in November 1970. He was later removed as Party Central Committee Alternate. In 1997, Ju Sang Song was appointed commander of the IV Army Corps and in 2004 he was appointed Minister of People’s Security. In April 2009 Ju was elected a member of the DPRK National Defense Commission and in September 2010 was elected a full member of the Party Central Committee and a full member of the KWP Political Bureau.
In March 2011 he was removed from office as the Minister of People’s Security and an NDC Member due to what the NDC said was ill health. Somereports claimed that Ju was dismissed because he did not demonstrate the proper concern and vigilance in investigating and arresting university students who allegedly vandalized the birthplace and childhood home of the late DPRK President and founder, Kim Il Sung, in Mangyo’ngdae. Yonhap, citing anonymous ROK government sources, reports that he “was dismissed for accepting bribes” and “being caught in individual corruption during the Workers Party organizational guidance division’s investigation.” According to Yonhap after his dismissal Ju Sang Song was assigned to work as the chief of people’s security in Taedong County, South P’yo’ngan Province, although it also noted that “it has not been verified which position Ju Sang Song is currently holding or whether he is receiving ‘veteran treatment’ after retiring.”
Ju Sang Song was not the only senior DPRK officials who was disappeared or dismissed to show up at the anniversary events held in late July. Attending the opening of the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs’ Cemetery, held on 25 July, were former Minister of People’s Security (2011-2013) Gen. Ri Myong Su (who replaced Ju Sang Song), Senior Vice Minister of State Security Gen. U Tong Chuk and former Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Pak Jae Gyong. Gen. Ri Myong Su also visited the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery, as did former chief of the KPA GeneralStaff Operations Bureau, Gen. Kim Myong Guk.
DPRK state media reported that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun and attended a banquet on 25 April (Thursday), to mark the official 81st anniversary of the foundation Korean People’s Army [KPA]. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a rally and military “march-past” on Ku’msusan Plaza. KJU first visited the preserved remains of his grandfather, late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, and his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, at the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace.
He was accompanied by Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Cabinet Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC]), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Kyong Hui (KWP Secretary and KJU’s aunt), Pak To Chun (KWP Secretary), VMar Kim Yong Chun (Vice Chairman of the NDC and Director of the KWP Civil Defense Department), VMar Ri Yong Mu (Vice Chairman of the NDC), VMar Hyon Chol Hae (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department), Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (Vice Chairman of the NDC), Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of the People’s Security), Ju Kyu Chang (Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security’s Political Bureau), Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (Director of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces Political Bureau) and “commanding officers of the WPK Central Military Commission, the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and the KPA.”
KJU and the KPA’s high command first visited a room containing statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Floral baskets from Kim Jong Un, the Party Central Committee the Party Central Military Commission and the NDC were placed in front of the statues. KJU then visited the rooms containing the preserved remains of his grandfather and father where he “made bows. . .in the humblest reverence,” according to KCNA.
Kim Jong Un also attended a banquet hosted by the NDC at Mokran (Moknan) House in central Pyongyang. Attending the banquet were “senior party, army and state officials, members of the WPK Central Military Commission and the NDC of the DPRK, commanding officers of the KPA, officials of the party and armed forces organs, ministries and national institutions and service personnel of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces” and “diplomatic envoys of foreign countries and military attaches of foreign embassies here and their spouses.” Before the banquet, the Moranbong Band gave a performance.
After the performance, a toast speech was delivered by Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek; Jang Song Thaek), Vice Chairman of the NDC, Director of the KWP Administration Department and Kim Jong Un’s uncle. According to KCNA, during his speech, Mr. Jang “paid highest tribute to the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il who strengthened the KPA into the matchless revolutionary army and led it to the road of victory and glory, breathing with arms all their lives” and that “upon the authorization of Marshal Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of our party and people and supreme commander of the KPA, he warmly congratulated the service personnel defending the sky, land and seas of the country as firm as a rock and all the people dynamically struggling to build a thriving nation.” Mr. Jang “noted that the revolutionary armed forces are ushering in the greatest heyday of their development as they are holding Kim Jong Un, who is identical to the Generalissimos, in high esteem as supreme commander” and he “stressed the need to steadily bolster nuclear force for self-defence both in quality and quantity and perform new miracles and feats in building a thriving socialist nation in the spirit of the historic March, 2013 Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the WPK.”
DPRK state media reported on 25 April (Thursday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a rally and “march-past” at Ku’msusan Plaza in Pyongyang to mark the official 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army [KPA]. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a concert by the U’nhasu Orchestra, given on Sun’s Day (Day of the Sun; Kim Il Sung’s birth anniversary). Joining Kim Jong Un on one platform were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC]), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Pak To Chun (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary), VMar Kim Yong Chun (Vice Chairman of the NDC and Director of the KWP Civil Defense Department),VMar Ri Yong Mu (Vice Chairman of the NDC), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (Vice Chairman of the NDC), VMar Hyon Chol Hae (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department), Gen. Kim Wo’n-hong (Minister of State Security [MSS]), Ju Kyu Chang (Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the MSS Political Bureau), Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security [MPS]), Col Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (Director of the MPS Political Bureau), Gen. Ri Pyong Chol (Commander of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Command), Col. Gen. Kim Myong Sik (Commander of the KPA Navy) and Lt. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom (Commander of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force Command).
Watching the rally and demonstration from another platform were Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President Kim Yong Nam, DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju, KWP Secretary and Kim Family head Kim Kyong Hui, KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Kim Ki Nam, KWP Secretary and SPA Chairman Choe Tae Bok, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju, KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department Kim Yang Gon, KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department Kim Yong Il, KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs Kim P’yo’ng-hae, KWP Secretary and Director of Planning and Finance Kwak Pom Gi, 1st Vice (senior deputy) Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department Jo Yon Jun, along with “vice-premiers of the Cabinet, diplomatic envoys of foreign countries and members of the military attaches corps here.” Watching the event were “officials of the party central leadership organ in Pyongyang, officials of the party and armed forces organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, officers and men of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, people from all walks of life, the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front and overseas Koreans.”
The anniversary event began with speakers, led off by VMar Choe Ryong Hae. According to KCNA, Choe said “the 80 odd year-long history of the KPA is one of glory in which it has steadily grown stronger as the main force for accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e under the care of the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu and one of victory and feats in which it met every vicious challenge and shattered war provocation moves of the enemies and reliably defended the party, the leader, country and people” and he “expressed the pledge of all the service personnel to carry to completion the revolutionary cause of Juche that was started with arms in the forests of Mt. Paektu by taking the lead in upholding the leadership of the Supreme Commander as instructed by the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.” KPA Navy Commander Kim Myong Sik said in his speech “even though the U.S. imperialist aggressors try to browbeat the DPRK with super-large carriers and nuclear-powered submarines, they will never evade the fate of the U.S. heavy cruiser Baltimore, which was buried at sea in waters off Jumunjin during the last Korean War, by the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK equipped ultra-modern strike means” and that “seamen waiting for the time of a dueling battle will send to the bottom of the sea all the pirate ships of aggressors, once ordered, and turn the South Sea of Korea into the burial sea of the enemies.”
KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Commander Ri Pyong Chol said “the men of his force are waiting for a final attack order to put an end to the enemies, with firm determination to devotedly safeguard the Party Central Committee headed by Kim Jong Un and the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun” and that “the flying corps of a-match-for-a hundred stalwart pilots, once given a sortie order, will load nuclear bombs, instead of fuel for return, and storm enemy strongholds to blow them up.” Strategic Rocket Force Commander Kim Rak Gyom said “the DPRK’s inter-continental ballistic missiles have already set the dens of the brigandish U.S. imperialists as their first target and officers and men of the Strategic Rocket Force are one click away from pushing the launch button. If the U.S. imperialists and their followers dare make a preemptive attack, they will be made to keenly realize what a real nuclear war and real retaliatory blows are like and their stooges be made to feel the taste of horrible nuclear holocaust.”
Following the speeches, KPA units marched past Kim Jong Un. According to KCNA KJU “saluted the columns marching past the tribune of honor in fine array.” The event also included a fly-over by KPA Air and Anti-Air Forces jets.
On 5 March DPRK state media released a documentary film which compiled film footage of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspecting Korean People’s Army [KPA] units, observing training exercises and visiting construction projects utilizing KPA personnel from his accession in January 2012 to live fire exercises in 2013. Loosely translated as Unleashing a New Heyday of the Formidable Forces of Mt. Paektu, the 80 minute film consists mainly of footage that has previously appeared in short documentaries about KJU’s activities. Aside from a few new, brief scenes of KJU talking with note taking senior officials, the films includes footage of the expanded meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Military Commission [CMC] meeting held late in the afternoon on 3 February 2013. The meeting was a key event preceding the DPRK’s third nuclear test on 12 February 2013. The CMC meeting ended with Kim Jong Un, assisted by Chief of the KPA General Staff Hyon Yong Chol, giving meeting participants handguns in presentation boxes.
The film also included footage of another expanded meeting of the Party Central Military Commission, held between February and March 2012. This would have been a key event preceding the 13 April 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket, which crashed shortly after it was launched. Unlike the February 2013 CMC meeting, KWP civilian officials are attired in KPA dress uniforms. Based on the protocol from the February ’13 meeting, it is likely then-Chief of the KPA General Staff, VMar Ri Yong Ho, participated in the handgun presentation ceremony at the meeting’s conclusion, however VMar Ri is not shown in this film.
The DPRK conducted its third nuclear test in the late morning of 12 February (Tuesday). The first indication of the third experimental detonation was a seismic event with its epicenter on the premises of the DPRK’s nuclear test facility near P’unggye-ri, Kilchu County, North Hamgyo’ng Province. The seismic event was later identified in South Korea media reporting as a “man-made earthquake” and had an estimate magnitude between 4.7 and. 5.2. According to a preliminary analysis by the South Korean [ROK] government the nuclear test of between six (6) and seven (7) kilotons. According to a public health official in Primorsky Krai, the Russian administrative district that borders the DPRK, there were no increased raditation levels and “everything is normal and (the levels) correspond to the natural background.” It remains to be seen whether the DPRK tested a plutonium or uranium device.
Hours after media reports on the seismic event in North Hamgyo’ng Province, DPRK state media released a report in which it said “the scientific field for national defense of the DPRK succeeded in the third underground nuclear test at the site for underground nuclear test in the northern part of the DPRK on Tuesday.” According to KCNA’s report on the nuclear test:
The scientific field for national defence of the DPRK succeeded in the third underground nuclear test at the site for underground nuclear test in the northern part of the DPRK on Tuesday.
The test was carried out as part of practical measures of counteraction to defend the country’s security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S. which wantonly violated the DPRK’s legitimate right to launch satellite for peaceful purposes.
The test was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high level with the use of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power. It was confirmed that the test did not give any adverse effect to the surrounding ecological environment.
The specific features of the function and explosive power of the A-bomb and all other measurements fully tallied with the values of the design, physically demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK’s nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.
The nuclear test will greatly encourage the army and people of the DPRK in their efforts to build a thriving nation with the same spirit and mettle as displayed in conquering space, and offer an important occasion in ensuring peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region.
DPRK state media also released a statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry which described the test as “a resolute step for self-defense taken by it to cope with the U.S. hostile act against it” and said that the “main objective of the current nuclear test is to express the surging resentment of the army and people of the DPRK at the U.S. brigandish hostile act and demonstrate the will and capability of Songun Korea to defend the sovereignty of the country to the last”:
The DPRK’s third nuclear test is a resolute step for self-defence taken by it to cope with the U.S. hostile act against it.
Its successful launch of satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 in December last year was a peaceful one from A to Z which was conducted according to its plan for scientific and technological development for economic construction and the improvement of the standard of people’s living.
The world including hostile countries recognized its application satellite’s entry into orbit and greatly admired its development of space technology.
The U.S., however, again prodded the UN Security Council into cooking up a new “resolution on sanctions” against the DPRK, terming its satellite launch a violation of the UNSC’s “resolution”.
Encroaching upon the right to satellite launch is an unpardonable grave hostile act as it is an infringement on the DPRK’s sovereignty.
By origin, the DPRK had neither need nor plan to conduct a nuclear test.
The DPRK’s nuclear deterrence has already acquired the trustworthy capability strong enough to make a precision strike at bases for aggression and blow them up at a single blow no matter where they are on the earth.
It was the DPRK’s goal to focus efforts on economic construction and the improvement of the standard of people’s living by dint of nuclear deterrence for self-defence provided by the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il all their lives.
The DPRK exercised its maximum self-restraint when the U.S. fabricated the “presidential statement” over its satellite launch for peaceful purposes by abusing the UNSC in April last year.
But the DPRK’s patience reached its limit as the U.S. intensified such hostile act as implementing before anyone else the UNSC’s “resolution on sanctions”, far from apologizing for its renewed wanton violation of the DPRK’s right to satellite launch.
The main objective of the current nuclear test is to express the surging resentment of the army and people of the DPRK at the U.S. brigandish hostile act and demonstrate the will and capability of Songun Korea to defend the sovereignty of the country to the last.
The DPRK’s nuclear test is a just step for self-defence not contradictory to any international law.
The U.S. has long put the DPRK on the list of preemptive nuclear strike.
It is quite natural just measure for self-defence to react to the U.S. ever-increasing nuclear threat with nuclear deterrence.
The DPRK withdrew from the NPT after going through legitimate procedures and chose the way of having access to nuclear deterrence for self-defence to protect the supreme interests of the country.
There have been on the earth more than 2 000 nuclear tests and at least 9 000 satellite launches in the UN history spanning over 60 years but there has never been a UNSC resolution on banning any nuclear test or satellite launch.
It is the U.S. that has conducted more nuclear tests and launched more satellites than any others. It, however, cooked up the UNSC’s “resolution” banning only the DPRK’s nuclear test and satellite launch. This is the breach of international law and the height of double standards.
Had the UNSC been impartial even a bit, it would not have taken issue with a sovereign state’s exercise of the right to self-defence and its scientific and technological activities for peaceful purposes but with the U.S. policy for preemptive nuclear strike, a threat to global peace and security, to begin with.
The current nuclear test is the primary countermeasure taken by the DPRK in which it exercised its maximum self-restraint.
If the U.S. takes a hostile approach toward the DPRK to the last, rendering the situation complicated, it will be left with no option but to take the second and third stronger steps in succession.
The inspection of ships and maritime blockade touted by the hostile forces will be regarded as war actions and will invite the DPRK’s merciless retaliatory strikes at their strongholds.
The U.S., though belatedly, should choose between the two options: To respect the DPRK’s right to satellite launch and open a phase of detente and stability or to keep to its wrong road leading to the explosive situation by persistently pursuing its hostile policy toward the DPRK.
In case the U.S. chooses the road of conflict finally, the world will clearly see the army and people of the DPRK defend its dignity and sovereignty to the end through a do-or-die battle between justice and injustice, greet a great revolutionary event for national reunification and win a final victory.
The KCNA report and DPRK Foreign Ministry Statement were echoed in remarks made by the 1st Secretary of the DPRK Mission to the UN Geneva, Jon Yong Ryong said “The US and their followers are sadly mistaken if they miscalculate the DPRK (North Korea) would accept the entirely unreasonable resolutions against it. The DPRK will never be bound to any resolutions. Jon also said the nuclear test will “greatly encourage the army and the people of the DPRK in their efforts to build a thriving nation… and offers an important occasion in ensuring peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and the region.” Jon also said “”the prospect for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula has become gloomier due to the US hostile policies to the DPRK that have become ever more pronounced” and that if the “EU truly wants peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, it should urge the US first to terminate its hostile policy towards the DPRK on an impartial basis.”
In Beijing the PRC Foreign Ministry released a statement which said the Chinese government was “strongly dissatisfied with” and “firmly opposed to” the DPRK’s third nuclear test. The statement also urged “the DPRK to honor its commitment to denuclearization and refrain from any move that may further worsen the situation. To safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia serves the common interests of all parties.” The PRC Foreign Ministry also announced that it summoned DPRK Ambassador to China Ji Jae Ryong to “lodge a solemn representation.”
The Japanese Government convened an emergency meeting and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the test “is a grave threat to our nation’s safety and cannot be tolerated as it will significantly damage international society’s peace and safety.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which “we insist that North Korea should stop illegal actions, strictly fulfil all requirements of the UN Security Council, fully abandon missile and nuclear programs, return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the IAEA comprehensive guarantees” and “calls on all interested parties to show restraint and plans together with other six-party negotiators not to ease up in efforts towards normalization of the situation on the peninsula through political and diplomatic means.” The statement also said, “Only so and no other way North Korea will be able to pull out from effective international isolation, which will open the door to international cooperation in different directions without exclusion of peaceful atom and space. We are confident that this path meets interests, first of all, of North Korea itself.”
On 6 February Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Alexandr Timonin told Interfax, “As before, our country advocates the continuation of the search for political and diplomatic ways to stabilize the situation in the Northeast Asia and will do its best to facilitate the creation of favourable conditions for resuming the six-party talks on the nuclear problem in the Korean peninsula. In this respect, it is extremely important that all interested parties do not commit actions capable to aggravate the situation in the Korean peninsula and lead to a new arms race.”
The United Nations Security Council [UNSC], of which South Korea holds the monthly rotating presidency, held an emergency meeting on 12 February which “strongly condemned” the third test. According to the UNSC’s statement:
The members of the Security Council held urgent consultations to address the serious situation arising from the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009) and 2087 (2013), and therefore there continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security.
The members of the Security Council recalled that in January, they unanimously adopted resolution 2087 (2013), which expressed the Council’s determination to take “significant action” in the event of a further Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear test.
In line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “strongly” condemned the 12 February nuclear test and described it as ” clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions” and said that Ban is “gravely concerned about the negative impact of this deeply destabilizing act on regional stability as well as the global efforts for nuclear non-proliferation”:
The Secretary-General condemns the underground nuclear weapon test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) today. It is a clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
It is deplorable that Pyongyang defied the strong and unequivocal call from the international community to refrain from any further provocative measures. The Secretary-General had repeatedly called on the new leadership in Pyongyang to address international concerns and start building confidence with neighbouring countries and the international community.
The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the negative impact of this deeply destabilizing act on regional stability as well as the global efforts for nuclear non-proliferation. He once again urges the DPRK to reverse course and work towards de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The Secretary-General is confident that the Security Council will remain united and take appropriate action. In the meantime, the Secretary-General remains in close contact with all concerned parties and stands ready to assist their efforts.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, “expressed deep regret” about the nuclear test and “strongly urged the DPRK to fully implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and all relevant IAEA Board of Governors resolutions.” According to a brief statement Amano said, “I understand that the DPRK announced it had carried out a third test of a nuclear weapon, despite calls from the international community not to do so. This is deeply regrettable and is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The IAEA remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue by resuming its nuclear verification activities in the country as soon as the political agreement is reached among countries concerned.”
Institutions and power organizations involved in the 12 February 2013 (abridged edition)
The 12 February 2013 nuclear test was the culmination of activity within departments, offices, sections and units of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP], the DPRK Government and the Korean People’s Army [KPA]. The third nuclear test was authorized through government channels by the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] and through party channels during an expanded meeting of the Party Central Military Commission [CMC] on 3 February 2013. Kim Jong Un’s last reported public appearance was at the expanded CMC meeting. Like the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket, the experimental detonation was a combined effort of scientists and technicians (who typically work for party and government agencies) and elements of the KPA. Personnel involved in each phase of the nuclear test would interface with Kim Jong Un and other core leadership through the KWP Machine Building Industry Department’s deputy (vice) director Hong Sung Mu and the KWP Organization Guidance Department [OGD]. When Kim Jong Il was alive, the nuclear weapons program was commanded directly by KJI through a former Kim Il Sung University professor So Sang Kuk, who held the position of OGD deputy (vice) director and worked in KJI’s office.
Information about the DPRK’s strategic weapons program in general, and its testing of nuclear weapons in particular, is speculative and contradictory. However, there are some key organizations that would have been involved in the actual nuclear test. The nuclear test was conducted by elements of the KPA General Staff’s Nuclear-Chemical, Ordnance and Communications Bureaus working in cooperation with personnel from the 5th Bureau of the Second Economy Commission [SEC], the 2nd National Academy of Sciences [SANS] and the Nuclear Bureau. According to some researchers, the Nuclear Bureau is part of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department (formerly known as the KWP Munitions Industry Department), however other sources says that the Nuclear Bureau was subordinated directly to the NDC, after it was bureaucratically migrated from the KWP along with SANS. SANS personnel would have been involved in the nuclear physics, engineering and other technical aspects of the test, while the 5th Bureau of the SEC would have been involved in production of the nuclear device (as well as preliminary high explosive testing). The construction of the detonation area and tunnels may have been conducted by a Ministry of People’s Security [MPS] engineering unit or a specialized construction unit of the KPA. Support roles would have been played by the KPA General Logistics Department (subordinate to the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces [MPAF]) and for mission security by elements of the Military Security Command [MSC] and the Ministry of State Security’s Defense Industry Security Bureau, possibly augmented by personnel of the Guard Command.
Leadership Activities Prior to 12 February 2013 nuclear test
On 12 February, DPRK state media reported that a meeting of the KWP Political Bureau convened on 11 February (Monday). Kim Jong Un was not reported to have attended. The Political Bureau meeting passed a lengthy decision to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of active hostilities of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War and the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation. However, the Political Bureau meeting was most likely the forum at which the central leadership was formally notified of an impending third nuclear test.
Kim Jong Un’s last public appearance was reported on 3 February 2012 and was his chairing and attending the expanded CMC meeting. Prior to the CMC meeting, KJU attended a commemorative photo-op with participants of the 4th Meeting of Party Cell Secretaries. Notable members of his entourage at the photo-op were VMar Kim Yong Chun and Gen. O Kuk Ryol, two of the KPA’s key senior officials tied to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. Interestingly, VMar Kim and Gen. O were part of a personnel shake-up of the KPA’s high command in February 2009, three months prior to the May 2009 nuclear test. At that time, Gen. O was appointed Vice Chairman of the NDC and VMar Kim was appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces. VMar Kim was later replaced as minister and appointed director of the KWP Civil Defense Department, which has a major public safety function during a nuclear test. Also in February 2009, Kim Kyok Sik was replaced as Chief of the KPA General Staff by Ri Yong Ho. Ri was later famously dismissed in July 2012, but Kim Kyok Sik resurfaced in a senior position when he was appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces in November 2012, approximately three months ahead of the 12 February 2013 nuclear test.
KJU’s lack of public activity contrasts with Kim Jong Il’s (his father) public appearances prior to the second nuclear test on 25 May 2009. On 23 May 2009, DPRK state media reported that the late KJI inspected revolutionary historical sites in Yo’nsa County, North Hamgyo’ng Province, located 65 km (40 miles) from the P’unggye-ri test site. On the day of the test, KJI was reported to have attended a concert given by the Persimmon Tree (kamnamu) Company of the KPA. State media did not disclose where the concert took place, making it likely that KJI watched the concert in Pyongyang or at the Persimmon Tree Company’s headquarters in Kangwo’n Province.
update Choe Ryong Hae has seen his rank of KPA Vice Marshal (ch’asu) restored, based on Yonhap News Agency‘s Korean Central Television [KCTV] coverage of the MPA anniversary meeting, which was also reported in Daily NK. At public events in mid-December 2012 Choe was seen wearing four-stars on his uniform shoulder boards, indicating the rank of General (taejang) and a temporary demotion. It is not clear if another member of KPA high command, Hyon Yong Chol, has also been restored as Vice Marshal.
DPRK state media reported on 5 February (Tuesday) that the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF] held a meeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of a visit by the late DPRK founder and president Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng; KIS) and his son, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), to Mt. Taedok in South Hwanghae Province on 6 February 1963** at which KIS introduced the slogan “a match [one soldier] for a hundred” (a-match-for-a-hundred). Attending the anniversary meeting held at the 25 April House of Culture on Tuesday were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), VMar Hyon Chol He (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department), other MPAF officials and KPA officers and service members.
Gen. Choe Ryong Hae delivered the meeting’s report in which he said “that the slogan whose justice and might have been clearly proved in army building and military activities is being successfully carried out under the Military-First (so’ngun) leadership of the dear respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.” According to KCNA Choe “underscored the need to make the hot wind of intensive training sweep the army just as the anti-Japanese guerrillas did on Mt. Paektu, so as to prepare all the soldiers to be a-match-for-a- hundred combatants who have acquired Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il’s strategy and tactics, brave offensive mode and perfect capabilities for actual warfare” and said that “when Kim Jong Un gives his order, the KPA officers and soldiers should remove all the sources of aggression and evil, settle accounts with the U.S. the confrontation with which has lasted century after century and win a victory in the war for the country’s reunification without fail.” Choe also said said “the immortal flags bearing the beaming images of the Generalissimos flutter in the van and Kim Jong Un provides wise leadership, there will be only victory and glory for the KPA.”
KCNA issued a separate news item about the revolutionary historical site at Mt. Taedok and reported on Kim Jong Il visiting Mt. Taedok in 1996:”Kim Jong Il again visited the place in March 1996 and gave a machine gun, an automatic rifle and binoculars as gifts to the soldiers there who prepared themselves to be able to defeat any formidable enemy at one stroke by intensifying the combat and political training, true to the field instruction of the President.”
According to one of Kim Jong Il’s official biographies:
On February 6, 1963, he accompanied Kim Il Sung who was inspecting the frontline on Mt. Taedok. Notwithstanding the severe winter, Kim Il Sung inspected the unit and set forth the militant slogan, “a-match- for-a-hundred”. But the commanding officers of the unit failed to fathom the correct meaning of the slogan.
When he came to a trench on the peak, an officer of the unit reported to Kim Jong Il that they would be fully able to be a-match-for-a-hundred in a defensive battle if they built up their defence position and trained themselves relying on it, as Kim Il Sung had instructed. He understood the slogan only in terms of an immediate combat task for defence, instead of considering it as a new policy to be applied in the building of the army as a whole.
Grasping the weakness in his understanding, Kim Jong Il explained to him that the slogan contained the intention of Kim Il Sung to develop the KPA into a powerful revolutionary armed force which could defeat any enemy in any battle. He said:
“The slogan of a-match-for-a-hundred requires in essence that each soldier should be prepared to face a hundred enemies not only in defence but also in attack. You should not confine the content of the slogan only to defence. Each soldier of the People’s Army should become a match for a hundred in attack as well as in defensive battle.”
Kim Jong Il continued to say that the KPA is a revolutionary army with a noble aim; it had the tradition of the anti-Japanese armed struggle behind it, and each soldier would equal a hundred foes when he acquired the indomitable revolutionary spirit of the anti-Japanese guerrillas, their marksmanship, flexible tactics and sound physique.
He later visited several other units to help them train soldiers into combatants equal to face a hundred.
The MPAF or KPA would have convened a commemorative report meeting whether or not satellite image analysts discovered ongoing construction and preparatory activities at the nuclear test site in P’unggye-ri, Kilchu County, North Hamgyo’ng Province. However, DPRK state media activity published prior to the MPAF commemorative meeting referred to the Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) chairing and speaking at an expanded Party Central Military Commission [CMC] meeting, and to a meeting held the previous week that gathered functionaries of the country’s national security officials.
Choso’n Sinbo wrote on 4 February (Monday): “The Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] reported that “an important conclusion — which serves as the programmatic guidance in further strengthening the people’s army into an invincible Mt. Paektu revolutionary strong army of sure victory in defending the security and sovereignty of the country — has been drawn.” This important meeting attended by party CMC members and members of the Korean People’s Army command would have been a place for confirming the iron will of the army that will cope with the current situation” and about the national security functionaries’ meeting “The consultative meeting of functionaries in the state security and external affairs sectors, which was held after the adoption of the UN Security Council ‘resolution,’sought countermeasures that face up to the cold reality of the international community. According to the KCNA, the participants reconfirmed the fact that “although the concerned sides devoted efforts to fairly resolve the issue and to prevent the escalation of the situation, there is also a limit to their ability, as they themselves acknowledge.” The conclusion reached was that “our sovereignty should be defended only by our own strength.'”
The same Choso’n Sinbo piece referred to the nuclear issue, writing “The United States’ imperialistic nature has not changed. However, the security environment surrounding the Korean peninsula has greatly changed in the interim. The DPRK became a nuclear state. As of last year, the strategic missiles of the people’s army have been openly declared as even possessing the [capability] of having the US mainland within its bull’s-eye strike zone.The qualitative and quantitative expansion and reinforcement of national defense capabilities served as a decisive momentum for the DPRK in establishing a new perspective on the power structure of the world and the trend of the international situation.”
On 5 February, the same day as the MPAF commemorative report meeting, Rodong Sinmun published an essay titled “Nothing Can Keep Us From Moving Forward.” The essay began with “The Lee Myung-bak gang of traitors, which has escalated the state of tension on the Korean peninsula to extremes with anti-Republic ‘sanction’ commotion, has been desperately running amok while viciously picking a quarrel with our resolve for a just response to safeguard the sovereignty of the country, calling it ‘additional provocation’ and whatnot.” The RS essay also said “”In the meantime, the rabble of the puppet authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have staged a conspiracy bout against the Republic with their US and Japanese masters in order to pursue a new “resolution of sanctions against North Korea,” making absurd remarks about what is called “a halt to provocation” and ‘leading to grave results.’ This cannot but be a despicable act of provocation that is the same as a robber wielding his own lash of punishment.” Referring to ongoing joint US-ROK military drills and recent statements from the South Korea [ROK] government the essay said “However, this is a miscalculation. No matter how much the puppets mention ‘additional sanctions’ and make military threats by conspiring and colluding with the United States, nothing will change for us. To the contrary, the will of our army and people — that will achieve the historic cause of the fatherland’s reunification ahead of schedule by mercilessly crushing the challenge of hostile forces, while being confident of the correctness and final victory of our own cause — is becoming more resolute many times over now when the enemies are attacking us desperately.”
** 7 February was, for many years, the anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army. It was subsequently changed to 25 April.