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4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors Held

27 Oct
Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The 4th Meeting of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Company Commanders and Political Instructors convened during 22 and 23 October in Pyongyang.  Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended both days of the meeting and delivered three speeches.  Also in attendance were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security), Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security Political Bureau), along with senior KPA officials, KPA commanding officers and KPA company commanders and political instructors.

In his opening speech to the meeting, Kim Jong Un said that “when all the participants strengthen companies, cell and basic combat unit of the People’s Army, to repay the party’s trust and expectation, the might of the powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu will be highly displayed, and expressed the conviction that the on-going meeting will serve as a historical landmark in arousing the whole army to strengthening companies, before declaring the meeting open.”  VMar Choe Ryong Hae delivered the meeting’s official report.   According to KCNA, VMar Choe said in his report:

President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) defined company as the cell of revolutionary armed forces and basic combat unit at a time when he formed the first armed ranks of Chuch’e-type in the forest of Mt. Paektu and brought up the fourth company of the 7th regiment of the anti-Japanese guerrillas as an exemplary company, thus setting a brilliant example in strengthening companies.

Kim Il Sung convened the meeting of company commanders and political instructors for the first time in the army-building history on October 11, Juche 62 (1973), attended the meeting and unfolded important guidelines in strengthening companies, an epoch-making event which effected a drastic turn in strengthening KPA companies.

Leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) put forth the original idea that strengthening company is a key link and a starting point in strengthening the whole army, brightly indicated orientation and ways for companies to follow at each stage and in each period of developing revolution and worked heart and soul for strengthening companies politically and militarily.

The Chuch’e-oriented idea of the great Generalissimos on strengthening companies and feats they performed by doing so are being successfully carried forward onto a higher stage thanks to the wise guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.

Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un formulated Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the guiding idea of the WPK and energetically led the work to model the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism in all aspects with companies as a base, thus opening up a heyday for strengthening the revolutionary armed forces.

Kim Jong Un brought up service personnel to be a-match-for-a hundred brave and stalwart fighters and provided energetic guidance to turn all companies into steel-strong militant ranks having strong discipline and assuming the perfect appearance as the regular armed forces by scrupulously managing the companies.

A fundamental turn took place in the ideological and moral traits of the company commanders and political instructors and in their work style and many successes were achieved in the efforts to consolidate the companies through the struggle to firmly preserve and glorify the idea of strengthening the companies set forth by the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu and their feats.

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).

Overview of the venue of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the venue of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Choe Ryong Hae also “called for making sustained great efforts to bolster up the companies in order to accelerate the process of modeling the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism on a new higher stage and thus develop the KPA into an invincible revolutionary Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) army.”  KPA company commanders and political instructors delivers also made speeches during the meeting.  According to KCNA, the meeting speakers said “that all the companies of the KPA grew to be the ranks of human bullets and bombs devotedly defending the leader as they share the intention, love and destiny with the supreme commander under his energetic leadership and deep loving care” and “that they would turn all the companies into the ones of human bullets and bombs devotedly protecting the leader and defending the country full of faith and confidence that they are sure to emerge victorious as they are led by the supreme commander.”  Kim Jong Un listened to “all the speeches made by company commanders and political instructors at the meeting” and “invited the commander and former political instructor of the  Persimmon Tree (Kamnamu) company there to have a photo taken with them.”

Meeting speakers at the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photos: KCTV stills).

Meeting speakers at the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photos: KCTV stills).

Kim Jong Un also delivered an “historic speech” in which he appreciated “the successes made in the work of the companies” and lauded “those company commanders and political instructors who rendered devoted service for them.”  He also “set forth the tasks to be carried out to develop all companies into elite revolutionary ones devotedly defending the WPK Central Committee and the ways to do so” and “underscored need for them to firmly unite around the Party Central Committee to take the lead in overcoming difficulties and trials and fully prepare all the company soldiers politically and ideologically and in military technique.”  Kim Jong Un “called for establishing strong discipline in the companies, boosting their appearance as regular units, decisively raising the level of company commanding ability and improving the living conditions and environment of the soldiers” and noted “that the meeting helped him find out jewel-like patriots and unassuming commanders and political instructors who dedicated themselves to strengthening their companies.”  According to KCNA he said “in an excited tone that the Party Central Committee decided to highly praise them.”

VMar Choe Ryong Hae read a proclamation which awarded the title of Labor Hero, the Hammer and Sickle gold medal and Order of National Flag 1st Class to KPA company commander Kim Sang Il, KPA political instructor Pak Son Gi, company commander Kim Kwang Gum, Capt. Min Kwang Hae and company commander Sa Song Guk for performing “distinguished feats in bolstering up the KPA by strengthening companies into vanguard devotedly defending the leader, a-match-for-a hundred combat ranks and turning them into homes dear to soldiers, true to the last instructions of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the leadership of the party.”

Kim Jong Un delivered the meeting’s closing speech.  According to KCNA he said “the meeting would go down in the history of the Chuch’e-based army building as it provided a landmark for the development of the powerful revolutionary Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) army with the strengthening of companies as a starting point under the uplifted banner of modeling the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism” and “declared the meeting closed, expressing belief that all participants in the meeting would augment the might of the People’s Army in every way, united close around the party, and thus perform their duty in carrying out the revolutionary cause of Military-First (So’ngun).

Expanded Meeting of the Party Central Military Commission Held

27 Aug
Kim Jong Un presides over an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un presides over an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 25 August (Sunday) that an expanded meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Military Commission [CMC] was held.  The meeting’s venue and date was not publicized.  Attending the meeting were CMC Members, members of the executive board of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] KWP Committee, commanding officers of the KPA’s service branches and KPA corps commanders.  According to KCNA, the meeting “discussed and decided upon practical issues of bolstering up the combat capability of the revolutionary armed forces and increasing the defence capability of the country in every way as required by prevailing situation and the present conditions of the People’s Army.”  Also discussed during the meeting was an “organizational matter” which most likely refers to personnel changes (appointments and dismissals) on the CMC.  At the end of the CMC meeting, according to KCNA, Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) “made an important concluding speech which would serve as guidelines for firmly protecting the sovereignty and security of the country and promoting the cause of the Military-First (So’ngun) revolution of the party.”

Kim Jong Un speaks at an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks at an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting in August 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting in August 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Graphic of current members of the Party Central Military Commission (Photo: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Graphic of current members of the Party Central Military Commission (Photo: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

The last expanded CMC meeting was held in early February 2013.  This CMC meeting, along with a meeting of the KWP Political Bureau held on 12 February 2013, affirmed the DPRK central leadership’s decision to conduct a third experimental nuclear detonation, which occurred on 12 February at the test site in P’unggye-ri, Kilju County, North Hamgyo’ng Province.  According to a 22 August report in Dong-a Ilbo, which cited “informed sources on North Korea,” command of military operations during war or a national crisis have been transferred from the DPRK National Defense Commission to the CMC.  The news report also claimed that the decision to declare a war, or national crisis, was subject to a collective decision of the CMC, the NDC and KPA Supreme Command; previously the Supreme Command had sole authority to declare a war.  According to Dong-a Ilbo, “experts judge that this change is meant to promote the formality of the organizations of supreme authority making collective decision through consultations.”

DPRK state media reported on 25 August (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un attended a banquet hosted by the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership.  The banquet was attended by members of the CMC, the NDC, senior KPA officials and KPA service branch and corps unit commanders.  VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department delivered a speech.  VMar Choe referred to Kim Jong Un having published a treatise on Military-First leadership in the 25 August 2013 editions of Rodong Sinmun and Joson Inmingun.  According to KCNA Choe also said:

Kim Jong Un dedicated his everything to bolstering up the military capability by making endless trips to forefront posts and units including the Kkachilbong post on Mt. Oso’ng, saying the road of Songun covered by the great Generalissimos all their lives is the journeys to be made by him. Thanks to his energetic Songun leadership, the country greeted the golden days of the army building and great events took place on this land one after another, striking the world people with admiration.

Our army and people will build a reunified, prosperous and the strongest country and a land of bliss for people where loud shouts of hurrah for the WPK will ring out on this land at an early date by intensifying the drive for displaying the “Speed on Masik Pass” on all fronts for the building of a thriving nation.

During the banquet, attendees toasted to the health of Kim Jong Un, described as representing “the destiny, future and ever-victorious banner of the great Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) power.”

Minister of People’s Security Reclaims 4th Star

12 Jun

Gen. Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People's Security (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Gen. Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People’s Security (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported that Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People’s Security, was restored to his previous rank of four-star General (taejang) per an order of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).  Choe Pu Il was first promoted to General by late leader Kim Jong Il on 28 September 2010.  Choe’s name appeared on a promotions list which also elevated Kim Jong Un, Choe Ryong Hae (current Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department; later elevated to Vice Marshal [ch'asu]) Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy (vice) Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department), Hyon Yong Chol (then-commander of VIII Army Corps; served as Chief of the KPA General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013 and currently commander of V Army Corps) and Kim Kyong Hui (Kim Jong Un’s aunt and a core member of the DPRK leadership).  Choe was rumored to have been reduced rank to three-star Colonel-General (sangjang) in late 2011, although it is not clear what prompted his demotion.  From about 2012 until February 2013 Choe Pu Il served as the Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau.  In February he was appointed Minister of the People’s Security, where he replaced Gen. Ri Myong Su.  On 31 March 2013, Choe was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the KWP Political Bureau and at the 7th session (plenum) of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] on 1 April 2013 Choe was elected a member of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC].

According to KCNA, the Ministry of the People’s Security [MPS] and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] “together with the Korean People’s Army constitute armed groups which play the role of two mainstays of the Korean revolution” and in issuing the promotion order Kim Jong Un “expressed belief that all service persons of the people’s security organ and the KPISF would creditably perform their honorable mission and duty as the first-line soldiers protecting the socialist system, remaining loyal to the leadership of the party.” Rodong Sinmun reported that Choe Pu Il’s rank was restored because “The organ of people’s security and the people’s internal security forces are two leading armed groups that, together with the people’s army, form twin pillars of our revolution.  In the past period, members of the public security corps and the officers and men of the people’s internal security forces performed great feats that will forever shine in the history of the fatherland by highly demonstrating boundless devotion and sacrifice in the sacred struggle to defend the party, system, and the people both in the days of glory and days of ordeals while highly upholding the banner of death-defying defense of the leader” and that “the prevailing situation urgently demands the organ of the people’s security and the people’s internal security forces, which are the revolutionary armed forces of our party, to impregnably guard the gateway of the socialist system and to reliably guarantee, with gun barrels and law, the party’s line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed forces.”

Graphic of the key bureaus of the Ministry of the People's Security (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Graphic of the key bureaus of the Ministry of the People’s Security (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Ministry of People's Security headquarters (Photo: Google image)

Ministry of People’s Security headquarters (Photo: Google image)

Choe Pu Il’s February 2013 appointment as Minister created a superficial gap in the power balance among the DPRK’s internal security agencies.  His counterpart at the Ministry of State Security, Kim Won Hong, was a four-star general.  The formal military rankings of these agencies’ leading officials suggest that the one led by a full-general has a more superior position, and valued more by the leader, than an agency led by a three-star general.  Based on his observed and reported public activities, Kim Jong Un appeared to be favoring the Ministry of State Security over the Ministry of the People’s Security.  Both ministries erected statues of late leader Kim Jong Il on the campuses of their respective headquarters, however Kim Jong Un visited the Ministry of State Security after it unveiled its KJI statue, but not the MPS.  The MPS, however, demonstrated its political clout in 2012 when KPISF commander, Gen. Kim In Sik, was appointed Vice Premier of the DPRK Cabinet and later appointed Chairman of the Capital City (Pyongyang) Construction Commission.  Kim Jong Un visited People’s Security headquarters and inspected a KPISF unit on May Day (1 May; International Labor Day) 2013.

The Ministry of the People’s Security is a large security organization consisting of (ca.) 200,000 employees with diverse missions.  In DPRK vernacular, the MPS is “a dinosaur” indicating the immense size and resources of the organization.  The MPS is the DPRK’s major domestic law enforcement and public safety organization.  It enforces DPRK laws and statutes (i.e. misdemeanors and felonies), discharges a number of public safety functions (fire departments, traffic control, road and railway security), administers prisons and labor detention facilities and is responsible for various registration records (the census, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses).  MPS personnel provide security to DPRK Embassies and missions located abroad, to DPRK Cabinet members and other DPRK government officials and DPRK universities and research institutions.  They also support the missions of the Guard Command, which provides close protection for Kim Jong Un and others core DPRK elites.  The MPS and the KPISF also operate several engineering and construction brigades (which some sources claim construct the tunnels used in nuclear detonations) and own several farms and other production sites, including the Taedonggang Combined Fruit Farm and Factory and the 927 Chicken Farm.  The MPS and KPISF are subordinate to the National Defense Commission, but they report to Jang Song Taek in his capacity as NDC Vice Chairman and Director of the KWP Administration Department.

Ministers of the People's (Public) Security from 2000 through the present (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Ministers of the People’s (Public) Security from 2000 through the present (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Like some other recent personnel changes at the upper tier of the DPRK’s** national security community, Choe Pu Il’s replacement of Ri Myong Su did not involve an aggressive purge of the incumbent official in favor of a Kim Jong Un loyalist.  Despite being removed from office, Gen. Ri appears to remain a member of the central leadership, albeit operating in a diminished capacity.  Like his two immediate predecessors, Choe has spent part of his career in command positions in the KPA’s conventional forces.  Both Choe Pu Il and Ri Myong Su have held the position of Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau [GSOB].  Choe was head of the operations bureau from 2012 to 2013 and Ri headed the bureau from approximately 1996 to 2007.  Like the Minister of People’s Security, the Chief of the General Staff Operations Bureau leads a diverse security organization with hundred of thousands of personnel, has direct access to the supreme leader and an intimate knowledge of the country’s various power organizations and their activities.  While not a head of the GSOB, Ri Myong Su’s predecessor, Gen. Ju Sang Song, had served as an inspector-general of the Chief KPA General Staff and was the commander of the IV Army Corps.  Since the health-related retirement of Paek Hak Rim in 2003, the MPS had only once been led by a civilian, Choe Ryong Su, who served as Minister for about a year until he was removed from office.  Since Choe’s 2004 dismissal, the DPRK leadership has seemingly earmarked the Minister’s position for the KPA.

**Rumors of purged security officials are greatly exaggerated in the Pyongyang watching community.  Gen. U Tong Chuk stood aside as Minister of State Security in 2012 and vacated his political offices, but was never purged.  Readers can do the math on Gen. U’s status, factoring in that he spent much of his career as an overseas intelligence manager and officer.  VMar Kim Jong Gak was removed as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces in November 2011, but has not lost his Vice Marshal’s rank and was assigned another position.  Hyon Yong Chol, who served as Chief of the KPA General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013, was reduced in rank and assigned command of V Army Corps.  And then there’s Kim Kyok Sik, removed from office as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces in May 2013 after six months in officer.  Gen. Kim, identified as the target of the biggest purge this side of ’56, ended up appointed Chief of the General Staff.

***For fans of James Church’s Inspector O series, “the Minister” in The Corpse in the Koryo and Bamboo and Blood was Paek Hak Rim and “the Minister” in Hidden Moon was Choe Ryong Su***

With KPA Assets in Syria and Rumors of Moscow Trip, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik Remains PY Man of the Hour

4 Jun
KPA officers meet a man injured during the Syrian civil war at a hospital in Syria in 2012 (Photo: SANA/NKLW file photo)

KPA officers meet a man injured during the Syrian civil war at a hospital in Syria in 2012 (Photo: SANA/NKLW file photo)

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on 3 June (Monday) that Arabic-speaking Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel are serving as military advisers on artillery tactics and providing logistical support to the Syrian Armed Forces, currently defending the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s ongoing civil war. Citing information from a pro-Assad militia,  Rami Abd-al-Rahman, director of the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,’ told Al-Sharq al-Awsat “that North Korean officers are taking part alongside the regular forces in the fighting in Aleppo” and that “the overall number of these officers is unknown but there are certainly between 11 and 15 North Korean officers and the majority of them speak Arabic. . .(they) are deployed at several fronts such as the defense factories southeast of Aleppo and at the regular forces’ bases inside the city itself.” He went on to point out that “these officers are not taking part in the field battles but offering logistical support in addition to drawing up the military operations maps. They are also supervising the regular army’s artillery shelling.”

The last observed, credible reports about DPRK military assistance to Syria during the unfolding civil war were in May 2012 and involved dedicated shipments of vehicle parts, munitions’ component parts and ordnance.  DPRK cargo vessel ODAI docked in the Syrian port cities of Latakiya and Tartus during 29 to 31 May 2012.  According to Haaretz, citing elements of the Syrian opposition, “North Korea is also continuing to send arms to Syria. The shipments arrive by air and sea and they are being paid by a special slush fund that the Iranian government set up for this purpose.”   The DPRK has made several public demonstrations of support to its embattled ally including meetings between DPRK and Syrian officials in July 2012, DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yo’n referring to Syria’s civil war in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2012 and a number of exchanges of gifts and congratulatory letters between President Assad and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).  

The DPRK began contacts and exchanges with Syria in the early 1960′s and established formal diplomatic relations in 1966.  Syria was the DPRK’s major conduit through which it provided military equipment, training and advisers to freedom fighter and radical Muslim groups in the Middle East and Africa from the 1960s on.  KPA assets assisted Syria during the October War (Yom Kippur War) in 1973 and provided support and participation, at Syria’s behest, in the Lebanese Civil War.  In 1982, KPA advisers were present when Syrian forces quelled an uprising in Hama and later that year KPA forces were deployed to Syria and Lebanon during the 1982 Lebanon War.  Since the 1970s the DPRK and Syria have had an extensive military exchange relationship which has included numerous arms shipments and the deployment of KPA strategic and logistical advisers.  The DPRK Foreign Ministry and DPRK state media have also publicly defended Syria, including issuing official denials that the two countries were cooperating on nuclear weapons development after the Israeli Air Force bombed an alleged nuclear facility in Syria on 6 September 2007.

The Korean People's Army General Staff, led by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Photo: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch)

The Korean People’s Army General Staff, led by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Graphic: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch)

One of the DPRK’s major players in its military relationship with Syria is current Chief of the KPA General Staff, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik.  Gen. Kim served as a deputy military attache at the DPRK Embassy in Damascus for almost decade starting in 1971.  Gen. Kim managed a number of military cooperation projects with the Syrian Armed Forces, including rehabilitating Syrian military forces in the mid-1970s and coordinating shipments of multiple-launch rocket systems and other military support to various radical organizations.  With the DPRK and its core leadership providing both public and substantial support to Syria during the civil war, and given Gen. Kim’s experience and extensive ties to Damascus, it is likely his recent public profile and switching one senior KPA position for another after six months are partially linked to the DPRK’s continued support for Syria.

Gen. Kim Kyok Sik was also rumored to to have been selected to lead a senior DPRK delegation on a visit to Moscow.  Kyunghyang Shinmun reported “Chief of the Korean People’s Army General Staff Kim Kyuk Sik is being tapped as the (North Korean) envoy and the number of the North’s delegation is likely to be six or seven” and that Gen. Kim and the delegation would arrive on or around 7 June (Friday), timed to occur whilst US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in California.  On 3 June, Interfax quoted an anonymous official in the Russian Foreign Ministry that “no high-level visits are being planned at the moment” between the DPRK and Russia.

KKS_MOTF_040613

Gen. Kim Kyok Sik Lands at KPA General Staff

23 May
Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (annotated in a yellow box) was part of a group that saw off VMar Choe Ryong Hae (1) and a senior DPRK delegation on a trip to China at Pyongyang Airport on 22 May 2013.  Also seen in attendance is PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai (2) (Photo: KCNA)

Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (annotated in a yellow box) was part of a group that saw off VMar Choe Ryong Hae (1) and a senior DPRK delegation on a trip to China at Pyongyang Airport on 22 May 2013. Also seen in attendance is PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai (2) (Photo: KCNA)

Two weeks after being removed from office as the DPRK’s defense minister, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik has been appointed Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff.  Gen. Kim had been appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, the country’s equivalent to defense minister, in November 2012 and held that position until early May 2013.  On 13 May, DPRK state media identified Gen. Jang Jong Nam  as Minister of the PAF.  Gen. Kim’s removal from office, after only seven months in the position, caused a feverish amount of speculation among Pyongyang watchers some of whom interpreted his removal from office as a “purge.”  Gen. Kim replaces Gen. Hyon Yong Chol, who was appointed Chief of the KPA General Staff in July 2013 after the removal of VMar Ri Yong Ho.  There is no word as to whether Gen. Hyon was dismissed with prejudice or if he had been assigned another position in the KPA.  One of Gen. Hyon’s last observed appearances was in late April 2013 when he attended Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visit to the Haedanghwa Health Complex in Pyongyang.

Gen. Kim Kyok Sik was identified as the new head of the KPA General Staff in a Korean Central Television report about VMar Choe Ryong Hae’s 22 May (Wednesday) departure from Pyongyang Airport to visit China as the “special envoy of Kim Jong Un.”  Gen. Kim previous served as Chief of the KPA General Staff from 2007 to 2009.  He is the second DPRK elite to be appointed to a senior position that he previously held; the other member of the central leadership to be reappointed to his old job was Pak Pong Ju, who was appointed DPRK Cabinet Premier on 1 April 2013, having served as DPRK Premier from 2003-2007.  2007 was the same year that Kim Jong Un became a viable candidate as the late leader Kim Jong Il’s hereditary successor.

Kim Kyok Sik’s replacing Hyon Yong Chol marks the third senior KPA personnel turnover in two weeks (with Jang Jong Nam replacing Kim at MPAF, and Col. Gen. Jon Chang Bok replacing VMar Hyon Chol Hae as 1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), and the eighth observed personnel change to the KPA’s high command since Kim Jong Un formally assumed the supreme leadership in January 2012.  Pyongyang watchers might be forgiven if they find themselves reaching for the Dramamine with the latest change at the top of the KPA.  Finding an easy rationale behind these personnel changes would be, to paraphrase one of our most astute Kumsusanologists, “shallow and misleading.”

Graphic illustrating personnel changes in the senior command of the Korean People's Army [KPA] from 2007 to 2013 (Photo: M. Madden/NK Leadership Watch)

Graphic illustrating personnel changes in the senior command of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] from 2007 to 2013 (Photo: M. Madden/NK Leadership Watch)

KJU Visits Health Complex

28 Apr
Kim Jong Un (2nd R) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (R) visit a teppanyaki griddle in the restaurant of the Haedanghwa Health Complex in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (2nd R) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (R) visit a teppanyaki griddle in the restaurant of the Haedanghwa Health Complex in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 27 April (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the recently constructed Haedanghwa Health Complex in Pyongyang.  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a banquet commemorating the 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army [KPA].  He was joined by his wife, Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu).  Madame Ri’s last reported public appearance was in late February, when she watched a basketball game and attended a banquet with Dennis Rodman.

Also attending the visit were DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju,  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 Kyong Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Kyong Hui (KWP Secretary and KJU’s aunt), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and SPA Chairman), Kang Sok Ju (DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier), Kim Yong Il (KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department),  Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department),  Kim P’yo’ng-hae (KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs), Kwak Pom Gi (KWP Secretary and Director of the Planning and Finance Department), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang City [municipal] KWP Committee), Col. Gen. O Il Jong (Director of the KWP Military Affairs Department), Han Kwang Sang (Deputy Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department) Paek Kye Ryong (Director of the KWP Light Industry Department), Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy [first vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau and Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff) and Jon Il Chun (Deputy Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department), among others.

Kim Jong Un began his visit at Haedanghwa Health Complex’s basement garage.  According to KCNA, KJU “was pleased to see the completed complex, adding that he appreciated its design and construction after examining the information on it presented to him by the relevant field.”  He also visited the store and dining rooms on the complex’s first two levels.  He “highly praised the builders for constructing not only the shop but the dining rooms to suit their nature and meet the requirements of formative art,” according to KCNA.  KJU visited the restaurant where he remarked that “cooking is a science and art, [he urged] the cookers to steadily improve their skills and display creative ingenuity to serve customers with varieties of tasty and highly nutritive dishes” and had a commemorative photograph taken with the chefs.  KJU then went to the second and third levels of the Haedanghwa Health Complex where he visited the public baths, saunas a barber shop, hair salon skin treatment center, workout room, billiard room and other recreational facilities.  KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un “personally checked the temperature of water at the bath and learnt about service provided at a face treatment room” and “was pleased to see the wading pool. He was also pleased to go round various saunas built with peculiar building materials such as halite, agate and yellow earth.”  KJU also “learnt in detail about what kinds of sports apparatuses are there in the fitness hall and table-tennis hall” and whilst “watching the clock in the shape of billiard balls and billiard table on a wall of the billiard room, he praised the builders for having constructed the room in such a perfect manner that everything there is impeccable.”

KJU then visited the health complex’s e-library and, according to KCNA, said “a relevant field should systematically send various data and videos on cooking to the e-reading room” and he “stressed the need to supply a sufficient quantity of foodstuff necessary for cooking practice so that apprentices may acquire workable knowledge, saying that theory is not enough to acquire cooking skill.”  He also visited a coffee shop on the complex’s fifth floor.  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un said that “it is the firm resolution of the WPK to enable the Korean people, the best in the world, to fully enjoy wealth and glory under socialism, without tightening their belts again, he noted, underlining the need to build more modern service centers such as the Haedanghwa Health Complex impeccable in any aspect.”

Kim Jong Un Visits Ku’msusan and Attends Banquet to Mark KPA Anniversary

26 Apr
Kim Jong Un (8th L) and senior members of the DPRK's national security community pay their respects to statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Ku'msusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on 25 April 2013, the official 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army.(Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (8th L) and senior members of the DPRK’s national security community pay their respects to statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on 25 April 2013, the official 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army.(Photo: KCNA)

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.

Floral baskets (C) and honor guards representing (L, R) the KPA's three conventional service branches at Kumsusan on 25 April 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

Floral baskets (C) and honor guards representing (L, R) the KPA’s three conventional service branches at Kumsusan on 25 April 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

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.

A banquet hosted by the DPRK National Defense Commission at Mokran House in central Pyongyang on 25 April 2013, to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army.  (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

A banquet hosted by the DPRK National Defense Commission at Mokran House in central Pyongyang on 25 April 2013, to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army. (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

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.”

Kim Jong Un Attends KPA Event at Kumsusan

25 Apr
Kim Jong Un (2nd R) points to something at an event held at the plaza in front of Ku'msusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on 25 April 2013 to mark the KPA's official 81st anniversary.  KJU is seen talking to his uncle, Jang Song Taek (R), Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission and Director of the KWP Administration Department.  (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap)

Kim Jong Un (2nd R) points to something at an event held at the plaza in front of Ku’msusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on 25 April 2013 to mark the KPA’s official 81st anniversary. KJU is seen talking to his uncle, Jang Song Taek (R), Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission and Director of the KWP Administration Department. Also in the image are Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (L) and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd L) (Photo: KCTV-Yonhap)

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.

 

Kim Jong Un Watches Sports Contests and U’nhasu Orchestra Concert on Sun’s Day

16 Apr
Kim Jong Un (seated 2nd L) watches a sports contest between the Kim Il Sung Military University and and Kim Il SungUniversity of Politics in Pyongyang on 15 April 2013.  Seated next to him are: VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Jang Song Taek (3rd L) and Kim Kyong Ok (4th L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (seated 2nd L) watches a sports contest between the Kim Il Sung Military University and and Kim Il SungUniversity of Politics in Pyongyang on 15 April 2013. Seated next to him are: VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Jang Song Taek (3rd L) and Kim Kyong Ok (4th L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) watched sports contests by Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel and a concert by the U’nhasu Orchestra on 15 April (Monday), the 101st anniversary of the birth of DPRK President and founder, Kim Il Sung.  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his visit to Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.  KJU first attended sports contests and chess match held between the Kim Il Sung Military University and the Kim Il Sung University of Politics.  He attended the competitions with VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Kyong Hui (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and head of the Kim Family), Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), along with “generals and officers of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF], and teachers and cadets of military academies, and officials, journalists, editors, creators and artistes in the fields of media and literature and arts of the KPA.”

Overview of spectators at a 15 April 2013 volleyball game between KIS Military University and KIS University of Politics, attended by Kim Jong Un, on the 101st anniversary of the birth of DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Overview of spectators at a 15 April 2013 volleyball game between KIS Military University and KIS University of Politics, attended by Kim Jong Un, on the 101st anniversary of the birth of DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

First, Kim Jong Un watched a volleyball game between the faculties and student bodies KIS Military University and the KIS University of Politics.  KCNA reported that “both teams lost no time to grasp their rivals’ tactical ideas and modes of playing and dexterously applied counter-tactics to gain points through surprise attacks and strong smashes” with KIS Military University winning the game.  KJU also watched a basketball game in which “players of both teams applyed combined tactics with main emphasis on rapid attack. They also applied closed up shot and middle and long distance shots to gain points,” and “players of the two teams skillfully applied a variety of tactics to break their rivals’ defense through agile and rapid playing. They penetrated into the rivals’ courts, increasing the rate of closed up shot.”  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un “clapped his hands to encourage the players whenever they displayed good skills.”  KIS Military University also won the basketball game, although DPRK state media did not disclose the score.  After the athletic competition, there was a Korean chess match which was won by KIS Military University, which was followed by a tug-of-war which was won by the KIS University of Politics.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un was “was greatly satisfied with the successful sports contest of teachers and cadets of military academies and sent a warm salute to the players who showed the spirit of collectivism and played fair matches.”

Kim Jong Un (3rd R) watches a concert by the U'nhasu Orchestra at the People's Theater in central Pyongyang on 15 April 2013.  Seated with KJU are his aunt Kim Kyong Hui (R), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd R), Jang Song Taek (4th R), Choe Tae Bok (5th R) and Kang Sok Ju (6th R).  (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (3rd R) watches a concert by the U’nhasu Orchestra at the People’s Theater in central Pyongyang on 15 April 2013. Seated with KJU are his aunt Kim Kyong Hui (R), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd R), Jang Song Taek (4th R), Choe Tae Bok (5th R) and Kang Sok Ju (6th R). (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

U'nhasu Orchestra concert at the People's Theater in central Pyongyang on 15 April 2013.  The concert was given to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Un's paternal grandfather, late DPRK President and found Kim Il Sung. (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

U’nhasu Orchestra concert at the People’s Theater in central Pyongyang on 15 April 2013. The concert was given to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Un’s paternal grandfather, late DPRK President and found Kim Il Sung. (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un’s next reported public appearance was his attendance of a concert by the U’nhasu Orchestra at the People’s Theater in central Pyongyang.  The concert was given to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the birth of his paternal grandfather, DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung.  Attending the concert with him were VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, Kim Kyong Hui, KWP Secretary and Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Chairman Choe Tae Bok, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier and foreign policy heavy Kang Sok Ju, KWP Secretary and Director of Planning and Finance Kwak Pom Gi and Pyongyangites.  KCNA reported of the U’nhasu Orchestra concert:

The concert began with the playing of the National Anthem. Put on the stage were mixed sextet “Let’s Sing of the Day of the Sun”, male solo and pangchang “Long Live Generalissimo Kim Il Sung”, female quintet “We Sing of Our Country Holding the Leader in High Esteem” and other numbers.

The performers sang high praises of the undying feats Kim Il Sung performed by leading to victory the cause of independence against imperialism and the socialist cause with his outstanding idea, rare leadership and noble traits under the uplifted banner of Songun all his life.

Whenever the image of Kim Il Sung was projected on the background of the stage, the audience was overcome with deep emotion.

National music instrument duet “Three Thousand-ri of Vinalon”, mixed chorus “Push back Frontiers of Latest Science and Technology” and other numbers impressively represented the fact that the dignity and spirit of the sun’s nation were demonstrated before the whole world and the solid foundation was laid for the eternal prosperity of Juche Korea thanks to the undying leadership of the great Generalissimo Kim Jong Il who remained loyal to the idea and cause of Kim Il Sung.

The concert reached its climax when female solo and male pangchang “Honor for Human Life,” female solo and pangchang “Let Korea Forge Ahead to Implement the Line on Simultaneously Pushing forward Economic Construction and Building of Nuclear Force” were staged

The concert came to an end with mixed grand chorus “The Man to Whom Both Destiny and Future Are Entrusted.” It made a truthful artistic representation of the will of all the service personnel and people of the DPRK to win a final victory in the all-out action against the U.S. and the drive for building a thriving nation, rallied close around Marshal Kim Jong Un, holding the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the sun of Juche for all ages.

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