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Jang Song Taek Meets with Japanese Sports Delegation

6 Nov
JST_AIKMJPD_PY_061113 kopie

Jang Song T’aek (C) talks with Kanji (Antonio) Inoki (L), a member of the House of Councillors, and Kenshiro Matsunami (R), Chancellor of Nippon Sport Science University in Pyongyang on 6 November 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Jang Song T’aek, Chairman of the DPRK State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission and Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, met a sports delegation from Japan in Pyongyang on 6 November (Wednesday).  Jang met with Kanji (Antonio) Inoki (Member of the House of Councillors), members of Inoki’s entourage, and a delegation of the Nippon Sport Science University led Kenshiro Matsunami (University Chancellor).  Attending from the DPRK were Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kim Song Nam (Deputy Director of the Korean Workers’ Party International Affairs Department), Ma Chol Su (Secretary of the DPRK-Japan Friendship Association), Sin Tong Gyu (Rector of he Korea University of Physical Education) and other officials.

Jang Song Taek, Kanji Inoki and a Japanese sports delegation watch a women's university basketball game at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on 6 November 2013 (Photo: KCNA screen grab).

Jang Song Taek, Kanji Inoki and a Japanese sports delegation watch a women’s university basketball game at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on 6 November 2013 (Photo: KCNA screen grab).

(Photos: KCNA)

(Photos: KCNA)

Jang and the Japanese delegation also watched basketball games at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.  Also in attendance were “basketball experts, fans and citizens including students in Pyongyang.”  The games were between DPRK and Japanese men’s and women’s university teams.  According to KCNA ” players created chances for scoring through diversified and well-organized attack and accurate passes between two or three players to serve the teams’ tactical intention and that “spectators enthusiastically applauded the players when they scored goals.”  Korea University of Physical Education won both games.

Mongolian President Arrives in Pyongyang and Meets with Kim Yong Nam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Defense Commission Releases Statement on DPRK-US Relations

12 Oct
DPRK National Defense Commission (Photo: NK Leadership Watch Graphic)

DPRK National Defense Commission (Photo: NK Leadership Watch Graphic)

The National Defense Commission [NDC], the DPRK government’s highest authority and supreme power organization, issued a spokesman’s statement on 12 October (Saturday) which it said “revealed the deceptive nature of the rhetoric about non-aggression on the DPRK made by the U.S. recently, and principled stand of the DPRK on the DPRK-U.S. relations.”  The NDC’s statement said that the United States should “lift all steps for isolating and stifling the DPRK” including the removal of preconditions for a US-DPRK dialogue and the suspension of sanctions against the country over its advanced weapons and space programs.  The NDC’s statement was released the same day as an editorial in Rodong Sinmun protesting ongoing joint US-ROK exercises in the East Sea (of Japan) which said that the “DPRK is possessed of powerful nuclear deterrence capable of foiling the enemies’ moves for a nuclear war at a strike and blowing up their strongholds” and that “if the U.S. and south Korean bellicose forces ignite a nuclear war despite the DPRK’s repeated warnings, it will mobilize all its war deterrents and deal fatal blows at the provocateurs and thus achieve lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

According to KCNA, the NDC statement said that “on October 3 U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said that if the DPRK starts denuclearization first, the U.S. will be ready to have dialogue with it and that if it becomes clear that the DPRK started denuclearization, Washington will open peaceful relations with Pyongyang and sign a non-aggression pact” and that Secretary Kerry’s “remarks, which mean that the U.S. will enter into friendly relations with the DPRK after it is left bare-handed, are the height of American-style impudence and craftiness.”  The statement also said that the DPRK is “well aware that even though it clamored for non-aggression, the U.S. is running the whole gamut of intrigues to lead the DPRK to ‘change’ and ‘collapse’, while persistently opposing the withdrawal of its aggression troops from south Korea” and that the “U.S. call on the DPRK to lay down arms and remain bare-handed is an intolerable mockery and insult to the army and people of the DPRK.”  The NDC said that “it is disgusting to see the U.S. playing the role of a leading character with high skill in the charade” and that US proposals “for non-aggression cannot guarantee peace and security on the Korean Peninsula but the nuclear-armed revolutionary forces for self-defense of the DPRK can defend and guarantee everything.”

The NDC’s statement also said :

 If the U.S. truly wants to improve the relations with the DPRK, it has to properly understand the DPRK and behave as befitting a big power.

The DPRK is no longer a small and weak country which used to be in the past when it was hacked at the point of bayonets of big powers for it had neither sovereignty nor arms.

The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks it can frighten the army and people of the DPRK through the “gunboat” offensive, with which it used to browbeat the world and bring its rival to its knees in the past, and through the superiority in the air based on latest science and technology, and can hurt the DPRK through the vicious moves for isolating and stifling it politically and economically.

The U.S. tragedy is that it does not know about the DPRK which is demonstrating its strong spirit and its army and people who love and value their country more than their own lives.

If the U.S. truly wants to mend the relations with the DPRK, it should properly understand the DPRK supported even by tens of millions of south Koreans, and behave itself as befitting a big country.

The U.S. should no longer talk about dialogue and improvement of relations with preconditions nor maintain the brigandish insistence that non-aggression is possible only when the DPRK dismantles its nuclear weapons first.

The army and people of the DPRK can discern the ulterior intention concealed in the dialogue and non-aggression proposed by the U.S.

The U.S. should discard the old way of thinking and outdated stand and abandon the threadbare hostile policy toward the DPRK, before it is too late.

For a good while the U.S., when meeting with DPRK officials behind closed doors, used to talk volubly that Washington has no intent to pursue policy hostile toward the DPRK. In recent public appearances Washington is working hard to build public opinion, claiming that it has neither hostile policy toward the DPRK nor willingness to replace the regime in the DPRK by attacking it. But in actuality it is working hard to realize its attempt at the regime change while systematically escalating all sorts of sanctions, isolation and blockade against the DPRK after invariably labeling it as part of “an axis of evil” and a “rogue state” behaving contrary to “law standard” and “international cord of conduct.”

The situation goes to fully prove that the U.S. assertions that it has neither hostile policy toward the DPRK nor intent to attack it are a poor farce for deceiving the public at home and abroad and mocking at the army and people of the DPRK.

If the U.S. wants to escape the pent-up grudge and retaliation of the army and people of the DPRK, it should drop its old way of thinking and outdated stand and make a bold decision to roll back its old hostile policy toward the DPRK before it is too late.

The U.S. should clearly understand the meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lift all steps for isolating and stifling the DPRK.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the consistent policy goal set forth by the DPRK government. It calls for the denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula including south Korea.

This denuclearization is a peace-loving and powerful physical means for defusing all the U.S. nuclear threats to the DPRK and denuclearizing the world.

If the U.S. continues threat and blackmail against the DPRK, the DPRK will get more time in its favor and the U.S. will only precipitate its miserable end.

In other words, the DPRK will prosper with increasing vigor and strength, as it has smaller, diversified and precision nuclear weapons, but the U.S. will remain as a bubble marginalized in history.

The U.S. should, first of all, lift all the sanctions it imposed against the DPRK under absurd charges, if it wants to get rid of the present poor situation.

It should stop resorting to the stereo-typed nuclear blackmail against the DPRK.

The further the U.S. escalates its nuclear threat and blackmail, the deeper it will find itself in self-contradiction and bottomless labyrinth.

What we would like to emphasize is that the U.S. should take a bold decision to halt at once all the provocations against the DPRK including war exercises which aim at bringing down its social system and territorial invasion.

Explicitly speaking, the U.S. should make a policy switchover by withdrawing all the measures it has taken to isolate and stifle the DPRK as part of its greedy pivot to Asia-Pacific strategy.

Herein lies the way for improving the DPRK-U.S. relations and guaranteeing peace and security not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the U.S. mainland.

 

Two Sports Economy Projects Completed

7 Oct
An apartment complex constructed for DPRK athletes with judoka An Kum Ae in front of her apartment  (top) and the ceremony open the renovated Pyongyang Indoor Stadium (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

An apartment complex constructed for DPRK athletes with judoka An Kum Ae in front of her apartment (top) and the 3 October 2013 ceremony open the renovated Pyongyang Indoor Stadium (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Two construction projects linked to the DPRK’s policy of promoting sports and physical culture were opened in Pyongyang on 3 October (Thursday).  A ceremony was held on Thursday marking the opening of the renovation of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, a venue for political meetings, commemorative photo-ops and athletic competitions  located on a bank of the Pot’ong River in the city centre next to the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Committee Office Complex.  Attending the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the SPA Presidium), Kwak Pom Gi (KWP Secretary and Director of the Finance and Planning Department), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee), Ro Tu Chol (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission), Kim Yong Jin (DPRK Vice Premier), Kim In Sik (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the Capital City Construction Commission), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff) along with “exemplary construction workers who took part in the remodeling construction; functionaries and employees of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports and Pyongyang Indoor Stadium; players, coaches, and members of the cheering squad taking part in the National Sports Contest of Provincial Teams; (and) working people of Pyongyang and the youth and students.”

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju speaks at a ceremony reopening the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium after renovations on 3 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA screen grab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju speaks at a ceremony reopening the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium after renovations on 3 October 2013 (Photo: KCNA screen grab).

Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech in which he said that “Supreme leader Kim Jong Un unfolded a plan for giving a facelift to the stadium, which is associated with the leadership feats of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and contributed to the development of the country’s sports and the cultural and emotional life of the working people, as required by the new century, and wisely led the work to do so.”  According to KCNA Pak also “called on all officials and other people to pay deeper social attention to the sports, raise the hot wind of sports across the country through mass sports activities and thus glorify forever the undying feats of the WPK which has provided the people with the best base for sports and cultural life. ”  After the ceremony, participants toured the stadium and watched the Provincial Teams’ National Sports Contest.

In east Pyongyang, at the Central Youth Hall, on 3 October a ceremony was held at which DPRK athletes were given residence certificates to live in a recently constructed apartment complex in the Pyongyang’s Pot’onggang District.  Attending the ceremony were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Kim Ki Nam, External Construction Guidance Bureau officials and athletes receiving apartments.  In his speech at the ceremony Kim Ki Nam said that “the houses reflectMarshal Kim Jong Un’s great expectation that the sportspersons will display ardent enthusiasms and faithfully uphold the WPK’s idea on turning the DPRK into a sports power” and he “stressed the need for officials in the sports field, players and coaches to make contributions to demonstrating the dignity and honor of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea with gold medals.”  According to KCNA the athletes’ apartments have”several living rooms, a kitchen, a washroom, a toilet, etc. and are furnished with household goods and high-class furniture. ”  On 5 October (Saturday), members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visited the athletes and their families in the apartments.  They brought housewarming gifts and “told the sportspersons to give fuller play to the might of Kim Il Sung’s nation and Kim Jong Il’s Korea by winning gold medals in international games in the future and thus encourage all the service personnel and people dynamically advancing towards a final victory in the building of a thriving socialist nation.”

Members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visit athletes’ apartments on 5 October 2013.

Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department, National Defense Commission Member and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Ju Kyu Chang (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department, National Defense Commission Member and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Ju Kyu Chang (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Mun Kyong Dok (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Mun Kyong Dok (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Finance and Planning Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kwak Pom Gi (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Finance and Planning Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kwak Pom Gi (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim Yong Il (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim Yong Il (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim Yang Gon (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim Yang Gon (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary, National Defense Commission Member and KWP Political Bureau Member Pak To Chun (Photo: KCTV screengrabs).

KWP Secretary, National Defense Commission Member and KWP Political Bureau Member Pak To Chun (Photo: KCTV screengrabs).

KWP Secretary, Supreme People's Assembly Chairman and KWP Political Bureau Member Choe T'ae-pok (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary, Supreme People’s Assembly Chairman and KWP Political Bureau Member Choe T’ae-pok (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Cadres' Affairs Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim P'yo'ng-hae (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Cadres’ Affairs Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Kim P’yo’ng-hae (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

DPRK Vice Premier, State Planning Commission Chairman and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Ro Tu Chol (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Vice Premier, State Planning Commission Chairman and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Ro Tu Chol (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department and KWP Political Bureau Member Kim Ki Nam (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department and KWP Political Bureau Member Kim Ki Nam (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Senior Deputy Director of the KWP Organization and Guidance Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Member Jo Yon Jun (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Senior Deputy Director of the KWP Organization and Guidance Department and KWP Political Bureau Alternate Member Jo Yon Jun (Photo: KCTV screen grab).

Kim Jong Un Visits Construction of Okryu Children’s Hospital

6 Oct
Kim Jong Un (3rd L) tours the construction of the Okryu Children's Hospital in east Pyongyang.  Also seen in attendance is Jang Song Taek (2nd L), NDC Vice Chairman and KWP Administration Department Director, and Ma Wo'n-ch'un (4th L), deputy director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (2nd R) tours the construction of the Okryu Children’s Hospital in east Pyongyang. Also seen in attendance is Jang Song Taek (2nd L), NDC Vice Chairman and KWP Administration Department Director, and Ma Wo’n-ch’un (R), deputy director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 5 October (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the construction of the Okryu Children’s Hospital in Pyongyang.  He was accompanied by Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission and Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Administration Department), Pak Chun Hong (KWP Department Deputy Director), Ma Won Chun (Deputy Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department) and Ho Hwan Chol (KWP Department Deputy Director).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the construction of an apartment complex for the faculty of Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) University.

He toured the hospital’s patient rooms, medical departments and service facilities “with satisfaction.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “took measures to fully ensure the conditions of the room of intensive treatment and indicated concrete ways for putting the operation rooms on a sterilized and dust-free basis” and on the construction of the hospital he “expressed great satisfaction over the fact that a hospital to be proud of before the world has been built as it was excellently designed under the guidance of the party, an able unit undertook its project and it was finished with good building materials.”  He also said “the hospital has also taken on splendid looks as a specialized one like the recently built Breast Tumour Institute of the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and Dental Hospital” and that “it is a hospital demonstrating the validity of the public health policy of the WPK and the advantages of the socialist healthcare system in the country.”  Kim Jong Un named it the Okryu (Ongnyu) Children’s Hospital “as it is situated in the area of Munsu where the clean water of the River Taedong flows.”

Construction of the Okryu Children's Hospital in east Pyongyang in June 2013 (top) and in Rodong Sinmun in October 2013 (Photos: Google image, Rodong Sinmun).

Construction of the Okryu Children’s Hospital in east Pyongyang in June 2013 (top) and in Rodong Sinmun in October 2013 (Photos: Google image, Rodong Sinmun).

The cover of the 6 October 2013 edition of Rodong Sinmun showing Kim Jong Un's visit (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The cover of the 6 October 2013 edition of Rodong Sinmun showing Kim Jong Un’s visit (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Han Kwang Sang Affirmed as KWP Department Director

25 Sep
Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Un's recent visit to the Ryugyo'ng Dental Hospital (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Un’s recent visit to the Ryugyo’ng Dental Hospital (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media has identified central party finance and accounting cadre Han Kwang Sang as a Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Department Director.  In a 23 September (Monday) report about Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visit to the construction of the Ryugyo’ng Dental Hospital in Pyongyang, Han was identified as “department director of the Central Committee of the WPK [KWP].”  KCNA did not disclose what department Han is directing, but it is highly likely he is serving as head of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department where has served as senior deputy (1st vice) director since 2010.  In late June an unnamed ROK Government source told Yonhap that Han had been appointed department director in May 2012.

The KWP Finance and Accounting Department manages the finances of the party and those of the Kim Family.  It also manages logistics and supplies for departments, offices, sections, etc., in the KWP Central Committee (i.e. the central party) and is responsible for the payroll and the distribution of benefits and perks to central party employees.  Staff of the Finance and Accounting Department also work as domestic, technical and logistical staff at residential compounds for the Kim Family and other DPRK elites, and the department is also responsible for supplying furniture, building materials, appliances and foodstuffs to the DPRK’s VIP compounds.  The Finance and Accounting Department owns a series of hotels, restaurants, factories and shops (both within the country and located abroad) which generate revenues for the party.  The department has taken a leading role in the development, opening and management of new restaurants, shopping centers and factories in and around Pyongyang since 2009.  According to Kyodo News Office #38, which had been subordinate to the Finance and Accounting Department, was consolidated into a larger entity called “the Moranbong Bureau,” under the DPRK Cabinet.  If this report is accurate then Han Kwang Sang had a leading role in the consolidation. The department links directly with the Guard Command and Kim Jong Un’s executive office in the National Defense Commission.  It is unclear what role the department, or Han Kang Sang, has in the rumored establishment of a powerful KWP Department of Economy.

Graphic of key organizations in the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch)

Graphic of key organizations in the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch)

Han’s Call Order in DPRK state media

Between April 2012 and May 2012 the order in which Han Kwang Sang’s name was listed in KCNA reports and called in state radio and television broadcasts appeared with other central party department directors and was listed or called ahead of senior deputy and deputy directors.  At Kim Jong Un’s field inspection of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit # 655 in April 2012 Han Kwang Sang was listed between Kim Kyong Ok (Senor Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department) and Ri Jae Il (Senor Deputy Director of the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department).  When Han next appeared in state media at Kim Jong Un’s May 2012 visit to the Central Zoo, he was listed after Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department) and ahead of Ri Jae Il.  In August 2012, in a news item on Kim Jong Un’s visit to Haemaji Restaurant, Han Kwang Sang was listed after Han Kwang Bok (Director of the KWP Science and Education Department) and before Kim Kyong Ok.  At a visit later the same day, Han was listed between Paek Se Pong, Chairman of the Second Economy Commission [Second Economic Committee] which is equivalent to KWP Department Director, and Han Kwang Bok.

Kim Jong Un Visits Construction Munsu Swimming Complex and Mirim Riding Club

23 Sep
Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Munsu Swimming Complex in Pyongyang.  Also seen in attendance is his uncle, NDC Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek (2nd L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Munsu Swimming Complex in Pyongyang. Also seen in attendance is his uncle, NDC Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek (2nd L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 22 September (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the construction of the Mirim Riding Club and the Munsu Swimming Complex in Pyongyang.  He was accompanied by VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission and Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Administration Department), Pak Tae Song (Deputy KWP Department Director) and Ma Won Chun (Deputy KWP Department Director).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was another visit to the Munsu Swimming Complex.

Kim Jong Un’s first stop was the Munsu Swimming Complex where, according to KCNA, “soldier-builders are now waging a high-pitched drive day and night, pushing ahead with the project at the final phase in hearty response to the appeal of the supreme commander for successfully completing the construction by Oct. 10, the anniversary of the WPK.”  In the indoor swimming pool’s lobby, Kim Jong Un “praised painters of the Mansudae Art Studio for having drawn a panoramic picture of the sea shore in perspective” to complement a statue of late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) which will eventually be installed.  He said the indoor swimming pool looked “wonderful,” that “it admits sunrays” and he told the soldier-builders to paint the pillars of the slides with white color so that they may look fresh and nice.”  He also “told officials to hang a large clock on the wall of the pool and set up sound equipment to add to its cheerful atmosphere” and that “it is necessary to provide it with mirrors and hairdryers, etc. in order to ensure best convenience to the visitors.”  He instructed construction personnel “to properly furnish the complex with furniture such as amusement tables in its different places including the balcony of the restaurant.”  At an indoor sports facility Kim Jong Un “highly praised the soldier-builders for having successfully built the hall in a brief span of time in hearty response to the order of the supreme commander though it was not included in the original design” and added that “it was very good to build the hall in the indoor swimming pool and the KPA carries out whatever task assigned to it.”  Kim Jong Un “noted that if volleyball and basketball courts are built and a springboard is laid in the hall, youth and children will like them.”

View of the Munsu Swimming Complex in Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of the Munsu Swimming Complex in Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

He “was satisfied to see the walls of the swimming pool being decorated with pictures of seagulls, dolphins, water drops, etc” at the complex’s outdoor swimming pool and “he learned in detail about the assembling of various types of slides and the constructed wading pools and highly appreciated the success made in it.”  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un “told officials to build a room for first aid treatment and an observation tower so that rescue measures may be taken” and that “the swimming complex can be inaugurated only when all these conditions are provided.”  Kim Jong Un “underscored the importance of taking thorough measures for protecting the complex in winter” and he noted that “it is good that the complex is being built in such a way as to ensure the supply of geotherm so that the complex may consume electricity as less as possible.”  He also instructed the “planting trees of good species and creating a larger area of lawn inside and around the complex” and said that he “was very pleased to picture” the appearance of the area surrounding the swimming complex.   Kim Jong Un also said “that the dramatic change in the appearance of the area of Munsu is a miracle which can be worked only by the KPA possessed of the spirit of unconditionally carrying out any task under any circumstances” and he  “once again highly praised the soldier-builders for their feats.”

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

2013-09-23-02-02

View of the construction of Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un’s next stop was to the Mirim Riding Club.  He toured the “indoor riders training hall, service center for riders, outdoor spectators’ seats, circular riding training ground, riding school, stables, etc. to learn about the progress made in the construction.”  According to KCNA he “was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders are pushing ahead with the construction of various buildings qualitatively at the final phase as required by the design of the club and methods of construction” and “pleased to see the soldier-builders pressing ahead with the construction of the horse-breeding institute and the epizootic hospital at a rapid speed as he instructed them while providing field guidance to the construction site in last August.”  Whilst watching the construction of a wall “he underscored the importance of successfully applying antiseptic treatment to it so that the quality of timber is preserved and it is prevented from getting rotten.”  Kim Jong Un was then briefed about the outdoor equestrian tracks.  He said that “it looks nice” and that “it is better to plant acacia along the line inside the track.”  He was informed that “the track has been built with famous Kaeso’ng weathered gneiss mixed with salt in order to increase the capacity for preserving humidity and sterilization efficacy” and  “underlined the need to take thorough measures for providing the best convenience to the riders.”  On the grass track he said that “So’ngch’o’n golden turf of Korea is the best for riding track as it is strong in vitality and resistance to stamping.”  He was briefed about the riding club’s landscaping then went up a hill to see the club.

According to KCNA he ” stressed the need to plant fir trees which offer foliage in all seasons and maple trees along with flower shrubs” and said that “it is good to plant willow trees around the artificial pond which will have artificial falls and beach in order to add to the scenic beauty.”  He said  “it is important to build a walking road for visitors’ stroll on horse and cosy pavilions so that they may have good rest” and “it is necessary to steadily push ahead with the work for creating greenery after the construction of the riding club is over.”  Kim Jong Un “stressed the need to make good preparations to operate the club as it is near completion” and remarked on his “belief that the soldier-builders would unconditionally finish the construction of the riding club as scheduled as it is the WPK’s gift to the people.”

Pyongyang Hosts Two Sports Competitions

22 Sep
The 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship (top) and 10 September Prize Martial Arts Contest (bottom) were held in Pyongyang during 10-18 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

The 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship (top) and 10 September Prize Martial Arts Contest (bottom) were held in Pyongyang during 10-18 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

During 12 September to 17 September Pyongyang hosted an international and domestic sports competitions.  The 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Tournament (under the auspices of the International Weightlifting Federation) was held at Ryugyo’ng Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium from 12 September to 17 September and the DPRK national martial arts competition for the 10 September Prize occurred at the Taekwondo Hall from 12 September to 18 September.

The opening ceremony for the Asian Cup Weightlifting Championships was held at Ryugyo’ng Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in the center of Pyongyang on 12 September.  The championships involved about 200 weightlifters hailing from 15 countries in Asia.  During the opening ceremony speeches Cha Hui Rim, Chairman of the Pyongyang City People’s Committee, “sent thanks to the International Weightlifting Federation and the Asian Weightlifting Federation for their sincere cooperation for the successful Championship.”  Ali Moradi, General Secretary of the Asian Weightlifting Federation, “extended his thanks to Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) as he took a measure for successful Championship in the DPRK, sincerely congratulating the Korean people who significantly celebrated the foundation day of the DPRK” and DPRK Minister of Physical Culture and Sport Ri Jong Mu “noted that the Championship marks an important occasion of exchanging successes and experiences achieved in the wrestling development in the Asian region and deepening the friendship.”  During the opening ceremony, the ROK (South Korea) flag was raised and after ROK.      According to the ROK Government this was the first time ROK athletes participated in an international competition in the DPRK and the last occasion that ROK athletes competed in the DPRK was an October 2008 exhibition soccer (football) games.

The 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship was held at Ryugyo'ng Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium  in Pyongyang from 12 to 17 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

The 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship was held at Ryugyo’ng Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang from 12 to 17 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

On the third day of competition, the ROK national anthem was played after ROK weightlifter Kim Woo-sik placed first in the 85 kg Interclub junior men’s weight class.  On the fourth day of competition, Kim Jong Un attended the senior women’s 63 and 65 kg competition.  Prior to the competition’s start he met with senior officials of the AWF and the IWF, telling them that “he was very pleased to see weightlifters from different countries playing in Pyongyang with sports enthusiasm sweeping across the DPRK and public interest in sports steadily increasing in the country” and “appreciated the big efforts made by AWF, IWF and other related bodies for the successful opening of the championship.”  In the end, the DPRK came in first in the medal count with 149 medals, 80 of which were gold.  China came in second in the medal county with 87 medals, 27 of which were gold and the ROK team placed third in the total medal count with 72 medals.  The complete results for the Interclub Junior Championships are available here [PDF] and those for the Asian Cup Junior Championship are available here [PDF].

The DPRK’s 8th National Martial Arts Contest for the 10 September Prize opened at the Taekwondo Hall in Mangyo’ngdae Sports Village in Pyongyang on 12 September.  10 September refers to the date in 1992 when late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) inspected the Taekwondo Hall in Mangyo’ngdae.  The contest involved over 250 participants from 15 teams and included taekwondo, karate, wushu and Paduk (Go) competitions.  Taekwondo sparring, Wushu matches and Paduk contests were held during 13-15 September.  On 16 September, men’s and women’s taekwondo pattern and breaking competitions were held, along with Paduk mixed doubles.  In the men’s pattern competition, Ham Chung Ryol (national team) came in first, Ra Kyong Hun (of Sunch’o’n Cement Complex Team) came in second, Ri Phil Hun (South Hwanghae Provincial Team) came in third and Hyon Chang Ryul (North P’yo’ngan Provincial Team) came in fourth.  In the women’s pattern competition, Sim Il Ok (North Hwanghae Provincial Team) came in first, Kim Pom Mi (national team) came in second, Kim Ji Hyang (national team) came in third and Ri Hyang Mi (North Hwanghae Provincial Team) came in fourth.  In the special skills competition, Ri Song Il (North Hwanghae Provincial Team) placed first in the men’s category, and Kim Il Hwa (national team) placed first in the women’s category.  In the mixed Paduk doubles, Jang Ri Gyong and Kim Song Won (Pyongyang Team) won Group A, and Kim Kyong Hui and Song Hyon Jin (South Hamgyo’ng Provincial Team) won Group B.

The 8th National Martial Arts Championships were held at Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang from 12 to 18 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

The 8th National Martial Arts Championships were held at Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang from 12 to 18 September 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

(Photos: KCNA screengrabs)

(Photos: KCNA screengrabs)

The last day of  the contest, 17 September, included demonstration competitions in which competitors “successfully destroyed the targets by front fist, knife-hand, elbow, side kick and turning kick requiring great strength and skills.”  Ri Phil Hun (South Hwanghae Provincial Team) came first in the men’s individual demonstrations, and Ri Yon A (Kangwo’n Provincial Team) came first in the women’s individual demonstrations.  The South Hamgyo’ng Provincial Team placed first in the men’s team demonstration with the Pyongyang Team placing second and the North Hwanghae Provincial Team placing third.  The Kangwo’n Provincial Team placed first in the women’s team demonstrations, with the Pyongyang Team placing second and the South Hwanghae Provincial Team placing third.  The 10 September Prize’s closing ceremony was held on 18 September and attended by Kim Kyong Ho (Chairman of the Korean Taekwando Committee) along with “officials concerned, players, coaches, Pyongyang citizens and students.”  In the taekwondo standings, the North Hwanghae Provincial Team came in first place, the Kangwo’n Provincial Team came in second and the South Hamgyo’ng Provincial Team placed third.  In Paduk, the Pyongyang Team took first, with the South Hamgyo’ng Provincial Team placing second and South P’yo’ngan Provincial Team placing third.  In overall team standings, the North Hwanghae Provincial Team came in first, Pyongyang Team came in second and South Hamgyo’ng placed third.

The 10 September Prize contest occurred whilst the DPRK’s International Taekwondo Federation [ITF] negotiates with its ROK counterpart the World Taekwondo Federation [WTF] for cross participation in their competitions.  WTF President Choue Chung-won met with ITF President Jang Ung during the International Olympic Committee’s 125th Session in Argentina (held during 7 to 10 September).  According to KBS World, Choue said “both sides could sign a memorandum of understanding as early as next month in Russia when the 2013 World Combat Games opens.”

Having concurrently hosted an international and domestic sports competition may be the consummation of the role of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, ten months after it was established.  Andray Abrahamian writes on the DPRK’s recent emphasis on sports on 38 North:

Winning prestigious sporting events is a major impetus for the “let’s-all-love-sports” campaign. Sporting triumphs may also provide an outlet for nationalist rallying during geopolitically calmer times. One can imagine a situation in the coming years where Pyongyang’s strategic goals will require some sort of détente or at least negotiations with the US and South Korea. Should such a détente occur, North Korea would need to avoid testing any ballistic or nuclear technologies for a period of time in order not to scupper any cooperation that might develop. It would be extremely useful then to have other victories to inspire patriotic pride. Sports, as in any country, can provide this.

Certainly, pointing to sporting victories will be easier than pointing to economic ones if Pyongyang maintains its ambivalence to reform. While the new leadership has demonstrated some interest in economic policy experimentation, the reticence to change that was the hallmark of the Kim Jong Il era is still evident. Both national sporting victories and the urban beautification projects that center around leisure activities—the rollerblading rinks, basketball courts and swimming pools—can be read as a means of buying time, while economic and foreign policy options are explored.

Overall, the sports campaign is also congruous with Kim Jong Un’s brand. As we’ve seen in the past year, the younger Kim has had a distinct niche carved out on his behalf. He clearly projects an approachable, friendly leadership style; one newish song is called “Friendly Comrade Kim Jong Un,” lest there be any doubt. Perhaps most importantly, however, rather than avoid the issue of his age, his public relations team has embraced it, emphasizing his youth, vitality and energy. Promoting sports at a mass-participatory and competitive level has a high degree of cogence with this branding process.

According to an 11 August article in Sankei Shimbun, Kim Jong Un’s “national sports” policy finds DPRK Cabinet ministries and other power organizations sponsoring specific sports events.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for basketball, the Korean Workers’ Party United Front Department is “the main sponsoring organization” for football (soccer) and the Ministry of Foreign Trade is responsible for archery.  Taekwondo is now sponsored and managed by the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports.  The State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, according to Sankei, “is focusing on earning good sums of foreign currency” and the “Commission’s discussions are not limited to only sports policy but also extend to diplomatic and domestic issues, causing some to see the Commission as a core “shadow” regime organization.”

Kim Jong Un Watches Women’s Weightlifting Competition at IWF 2013 Asian Cup

16 Sep
Kim Jong Un (3rd L) watches senior women's competitions during the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championships in Pyongyang on 15 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun) Also in attendance are his wife Ri Sol Ju (2nd L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Pak Pong Ju (4th L) and Kim Ki Nam (5th L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (3rd L) watches senior women’s competitions during the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championships in Pyongyang on 15 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun) Also in attendance are his wife Ri Sol Ju (2nd L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Pak Pong Ju (4th L) and Kim Ki Nam (5th L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) watched senior women’s weightlifting competitions at the Ryugyo’ng Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang on 15 September (Sunday).  Among those in attendance were his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission and Chairman of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), and “other senior party, state and army officials, as well as Pyongyang citizens.”  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the renovation of Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

Before the competition, Kim Jong Un met with senior officials of the International Weightlifting Federation and the Asian Weightlifting Federation.  According to KCNA “they thanked him for making sure that necessary steps were taken so that the championship could be held successfully” and said that “his presence was great support and encouragement to the AWF and great honor and happiness for them as well.”  Kim Jong Un said “he was very pleased to see weightlifters from different countries playing in Pyongyang with sports enthusiasm sweeping across the DPRK and public interest in sports steadily increasing in the country” and “appreciated the big efforts made by AWF, IWF and other related bodies for the successful opening of the championship.”  He watched the senior women’s 63 kg and 69 kg competitions.  DPRK women weightlifters Ri Jong Hwa, Ryo Un Hui and Jo Pok Hyang and Chinese weightlifter Long Dingling  received gold medals.  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un applauded “in congratulation of their success” and “expressed the conviction that the championship drawing men and women players from over 10 countries and regions would serve as an important occasion in boosting exchange and cooperation among sportspersons and further developing the weightlifting techniques.”

Over view of senior women's competitions at the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship at Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang on 15 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Over view of senior women’s competitions at the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship at Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in Pyongyang on 15 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

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