To mark the 53rd anniversary of Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership, DPRK state media aired another installment of the documentary film series General Kim Jong Il’s Matchless Patriotic Defense of the Country. The film splices together a variety of footage of Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) conducting field inspections of Korean People’s Army [KPA] units, KPA economic activity and arms and munitions factories. During scenes of his visits to arms factories, Kim Jong Il is shown touring an unknown weapons production facility during the early 2000s. In the scene KJI is shown standing next to a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile on a TEL (transporter-erector-launcher). Footage from the same visit also shows what is possibly the fabled KN-08 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. It is not clear where this visit occurred, although possibilities include one of the machine factories in Jagang (Chagang) Province, a building at the Sanum-dong Research Facility in northern Pyongyang, the Tae-sung Machine Factory outside Namp’o or some other factory under the Second Economy Commission (Second Economic Committee) or the Second Academy of Natural Sciences.
According to ROK media, citing anonymous sources and observations in DPRK state media, Han Kwang Sang has been promoted to director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Finance and Accounting Department. The Finance and Accounting Department is part of the central party apparatus which manages the finances of the party and the Kim Family. It also is responsible for the payroll and material lives of party officials and employees.
From 2009 to 2013 Han served as the department’s senior deputy (1st Vice) director, as the nominal head of Office #38 which manages the Kim Family’s finances. He made his first observed appearance in January 2010, when he accompanied late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) on a guidance tour of the renovation of the Hyangsan Hotel. His public appearances traveling with Kim Jong Il increased after the succession of Kim Jong Un was widely publicized in September 2010, even though his attendance was not always noted state media reporting. Han has been a fairly routine member of Kim Jong Un’s entourage during his visits and inspections around the country.
Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed official in a 21 July (Sunday) report about Han’s promotion who said “Han Kwang-sang, first vice director of the Finance and Accounting Department, who emerged with the appearance of Kim Jong Un, looks to have been promoted to director of the Finance and Accounting Department around May of last year.” Yonhap also used the order in which officials who accompany the leader are called or listed in state media reports, noting that Han was previously called after Kim Kyong Ok, Senior Deputy (1st Vice) Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department. A ROK government official told Yonhap that”if Han Kwang-sang is introduced before Kim Kyo’ng-ok, he is highly likely to be at the director level,” adding that “there is no first vice director who is introduced before Kim Kyo’ng-ok, first vice director of the party’s Organization and Guidance Department, who has more power than passable WPK directors.”
According to Yonhap‘s report notes that the Finance and Accounting Department has been without a formal director since the removal from office of Ri Pong Su following the 2004 death of his chief patron Ko Yong Hui, Kim Jong Il’s fourth wife and mother of current leader Kim Jong Il. Ri, an alias, replaced Ro Myong Gun (Ro Myo’ng-kun) who had served as director of Finance and Accounting since the department was established on Kim Jong Il’s order in 1983. Since Ri Pong Su’s dismissal, and given individual and organizational behavior in the DPRK’s political culture, Kim Jong Il himself probably assumed the directorship and ran the department through its deputy directors. During 2003 to 2012, deputy directors (with different portfolios) of the Finance and Accounting Department have included Han Kwang Sang, Jon Il Chun, Kim Tong Un and Ri Kwang Gun (currently head of the Joint Venture and Investment Commission). Kim Hyo was also a cadre in the department, as of one KJI’s main accountants, and his daughter Kim Ok, KJI’s widow as his 5th wife and technical secretary, had close ties to the department (and access to its safes). The change in leadership of the Finance and Accounting Department may be tied to rumors that Kim Hyo and Kim Ok were recently dismissed from office.
The construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang is part of Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) implemenation of his father’s, late leader Kim Jong Il, “behests” and part of KJI’s practice of indok politics. In February 2013 Kim Jong Un issued an instruction to the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel to construct the water park. The MPAF and KPA staged a meeting, led by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, on 7 February 2013 at which it was “stressed the need to ensure the quality in construction on the highest level under the motto of taking responsibility for the safety of projects and guaranteeing their absolute quality for all eternity by overcoming difficulties and hardships with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in every work site for the country’s prosperity and the people’s happiness in the past.” The Munsu Wading Pool was listed a major project as part of “face-lifting” Pyongyang during a meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Political Bureau held in February.
During May 2013, Kim Jong Un visited the construction of the water park as part of a tour of construction projects in and around Pyongyang. DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju also visited the construction in May. VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department, has visited the water park’s construction twice with the first time being in February after ground was broken on the project, and in late June. The Munsu Wading Pool project has recently been included as part of the “Masikryo’ng Speed” campaign.
An official documentary film chronicling Kim Jong Un’s public activities in May 2013 provided greater detail about the Munsu Wading Pool’s design. A full-color poster of the design shows that the water park will have several swimming pools, a wave pool, a “lazy river” for inner tubing, an artificial waterfall, a tennis court, beach (sandy) volleyball court and other sports facilities. While the Munsu Wading Pool’s has a similar layout and design to other water parks elsewhere in the world, there are some areas of the park which will have distinct DPRK characteristics.
In planning the Munsu Wading Pool, the architects have borrowed at least one waterslide and several buildings found on the premises of the Kim family’s Ryo’ngso’ng (or Su’ngbo’p) residential compound in the Ryo’ngso’ng District in northern Pyongyang. The Ryo’ngso’ng compound is approximately 12.8 km (7.9 miles) north of central Pyongyang within the northern boundaries of the DPRK capital’s Inland Empire**. The compound includes one of Kim Jong Il’s private railway stations (including carriage repair and maintenance facilities), a C2 facility, a C4ISR UGF (call it a DPRK leadership panic room), a horse racing track, bridleways, a rifle range, numerous guest houses and private residences for DPRK elites and several large, luxurious homes inhabited by members of the Kim family.
DPRK architects modeled one of the waterslides planned for Munsu Wading Pool on a tube slide found at the outdoor pool of the Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound. The Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound has undergone several renovations since Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011. Satellite imagery showed that construction work was under way in April 2012, with a crew expanding one of the large houses, demolishing part of a residence for Personal Secretariat staff and a convoy of dump trucks hauling materials and debris from the compound. Satellite images taken later in 2012 (and available through several online mapping resources such as Google Maps/Earth) showed that one house used by Kim Jong Il had been completely demolished. Interestingly, the 2012 renovation of the Ryo’ngso’ng compound included the removal of the tube waterslide and the outdoor swimming pool. This raises the possibility that the water slide was disassembled and repurposed for the Munsu Wading Pool or another amusement park or alpamare in Pyongyang.
The Munsu Wading Pool’s design also envisions two pyramid-shaped structures located along the water park’s southern perimeter. The two pyramid-shaped structures at Munsu, topped by two silver square structures, are a smaller, less grand versions of two pyramids at the Ryo’ngso’ng compound. According to several accounts from people who visited or worked at the Ryo’ngso’ng compound, the two pyramids house bathing, spa and sauna facilities. It is possible that the twin pyramids in the Munsu park’s design will serve a similar purpose.
South and east of the twin pyramids at Munsu Wading Pool, the architects have planned several rectangular and circular structures. These buildings might include patios, restaurants or snack bars, locker rooms (dressing rooms), indoor recreation facilities and the water park’s administrative and technical offices. These buildings lining the water park’s southern perimeter have a highly similar design and are an expansion of the Ryo’ngso’ng compound’s main banquet hall and entertainment facilities.
There are a few implications (take aways, if you like) to the core leadership approving a design based on one of the Kim Family’s “special pavilions.” It fits an overall pattern, which began when Kim Jong Il was still alive in which food factories, shops and other aspects of the county’s so-called court economy are either publicized or DPRK citizens (a relative term when applied to Pyongyangites) are given access to them. It is highly likely that the designs for the Munsu Wading Pool came from a branch of the Paektusan Academy of Architecture.
**The Pyongyang Inland Empire is a term I coined in a conversation with a close colleague when discussing Kim Jong Un’s tendency to remain primarily in Pyongyang during most of 2012 and part of 2013. It refers to sections of Pyongyang running from the northern outskirts of the city (south of the Pyongyang Airport) south to the area around Ku’msusan Palace then through the city centre (KIS Square, central party complex) and west into the Mangyo’ngdae District with parts of it sitting east on either side of the Taedong River in Samso’k District and the Taedonggang District. It includes a series of private roads, the country’s “secret subway” and includes a network of underground residential facilities (the Suryo’ng bunkers) which Kim Jong Il used from time to time. In addition to underground facilities and special roads, the Pyongyang Inland Empire is highly secure and protects the country’s leader (and other elites) behind four dedicated layers of security personnel (Guard Command –> Ministry of People’s Security –> Pyongyang Defense Command –> III Army Corps).
DPRK state media reported on 12 April (Friday) that a spokesman for the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff denied that DPRK operatives working under the Reconnaissance General Bureau [RGB] engaged in cyberattacks on South Korean [ROK] financial and media institutions on 20 March. On 10 April ( Wednesday) South Korean authorities announced that a preliminary investigation traced the cyberattack to the DPRK. Yonhap reported that “Three South Korean banks — Shinhan, NongHyup and Jeju — and their insurance affiliates as well as three TV broadcasters — KBS, MBC and YTN — were hit by the cyber attack as malicious code infected some 48,000 computers in their networks on March 20. Following the initial attack, 58 YTN affiliate servers and 14 anti-Pyongyang Web sites, including those operated by North Korean defectors, also suffered another round of attacks on March 25 and 26.” At a Seoul press conference, Lee Seung-won of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said that “an analysis of cyber terror access logs, malicious code and North Korean intelligence showed that the attack methods were similar to those used by the North’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, which has led hacking attacks against South Korea.”
The KPA General Staff spokesman told the military’s newspaper Joson Inmingun “that those who fabricate the groundless story about the “work done by the north” would be labeled as the second traitor Lee Myung Bak.” According to KCNA, the KPA General Staff spokesman also said “the south Korean puppet group’s claim that ‘the March 20 hacking case’ was ‘the work done by the north’ is a deliberate provocation to push the situation on the Korean Peninsula to an extreme phase by taking advantage of the U.S. nuclear war racket and another anti-DPRK confrontation hysteria as it is a replica of the Cheonan warship sinking case. “
On 8 April the editorial bureau of Uriminzokkiri issued the country’s first observed response to the 4 April cyberattack on its website. While the cyber activist group Anonymous claimed credit for the outage of the DPRK web outlet, Uriminzokkiri‘s editorial bureau accused South Korean authorities writing that “the hacking of our homepages that ‘Anonymous’ committed this time can never be tolerated as a grave crime against Internet activities. The problem is that this was not merely a reckless act of an international hackers group, and this is why the crime is more seriously grave. Stating the bottom line up front, the hacking crime committed by ‘Anonymous’ this time is a fabrication of South Korean agents, the gang of puppets.”
According to Uriminzokkiri‘s editorial:
There is a lot of evidence.
More than anything else, the motive that the criminal group called “Anonymous” offered immediately following the incident, while raving that the hacking was its act, was the sophistry about “the threat from the North,” “the introduction of liberal democracy,” and so on, and this is not different at all from the gang of puppets’ confrontational vituperation against their fellow countrymen.
In addition, most of those that are mentioned in the “list of members” and “the data on the members’ registration” — which are claimed to have been obtained through the hacking — are the organizations that seek peace and reunification. This clearly shows the purpose they are trying to achieve through the game of disclosing such data. Mysteriously, no sooner had the criminal act been committed that the fascist ring, such as the puppet Public Prosecutor’s Office, Police Agency, Intelligence Service, and Defense Ministry, talking about the information that “Anonymous” has obtained through the hacking of the “Uriminjokkkiri” homepage, is blatantly revealing its suppressive intention, while regarding all classes and circles, such as the Unified Progressive Party, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union, journalists, and professors, that seek peace and reunification, as the targets of present-day witch-hunt. Cronies of the “Saenuri Party,” too, clamoring that “pro- North forces should be rooted out,” are running amok in trying to obliterate the reunification forces of patriots and to reinstate the “Yusin” era of the fascist dictatorship by taking advantage of the incident this time. How can this be regarded as being a mere accident?
And this is not all.
The one who claims that the hacking this time was his act was using both English and Korean on Twitter, and “Anonymous” said that he would kick up an anti-Republic smear racket in the middle of Seoul a few days later, wearing a mask representing the puppets. By these facts alone, it is all too clear that the claws of the gang of puppets, including its agents, were stretched out deep in committing the hacking this time.
This is fully proved also by the fact that “Anonymous” is planning another hacking crime against the Internet sites of the Republic again on the anniversary of the day when the US imperialists provoked the Korean war on 25 June.
At present, among South Korean journalists and the people of all classes and circles, suspicion is growing every day that maybe puppet agents were behind the incident this time, and the y are strongly maintaining that the gang of puppets’ maneuver aimed at abusing such a criminal act as Internet hacking in kicking a racket of “eliminating pro-North Forces” can never be overlooked as an even more atrocious crime.
All the facts clearly show that the sinister, hostile force’s hacking maneuver against our Internet homepages this time was a fabrication of the gang of puppets.
Then, why is the gang of puppets continuing to orchestrate such endlessly ugly burlesques?
As was made known, our army and people have recently proclaimed a relentless sacred war of retaliation to resolutely smash the United States and the gang of puppets’ atrocious maneuver of a war of northward aggression and confrontation with fellow countrymen.
As a result, the gang of traitors is being strongly condemned by the South Korean public sentiments and by the whole nation and thus is on pins and needles being driven into an extreme quagmire. The gang of puppets is trying to find a way out from another shocking incident and from kicking up a “racket against the pro-North forces.” For this purpose, the gang of puppets, with the nonsensical sophistry about so-called “Internet Protocol addresses,” “cyber warfare via Internet,” “giving an inciting order regarding the major pending issues in South Korea,” and so on, has openly revealed since long ago its wicked intention of suppressing the people who seek peace and oppose the United States and the belligerent military group’s anti-Republic provocations and their racket of a war of northward aggression by branding them as “pro-North forces.”
It is precisely under these circumstances that the criminal hacking incident of “Anonymous” has occurred, and subsequently another smear racket of disclosing the “list of members” and “eliminating the pro-North forces” has been kicked up.
It is all too clear that all these things can never be overlooked as a mere accident.
Up until now, the puppets have linked all the hacking incidents in South Korea to us in far- fetched manner and have thus shamelessly schemed to whip up anti-Republic hostile sentiments and to mislead the public opinions at home and abroad. However, through such a racket, they have only revealed of their own accord that the real culprits behind the hacking incidents were none other than themselves. How barefaced and despicable their smear act is has been once again clearly disclosed to the whole world through the incident this time.
The ugly behavior of the gang of puppets — which is trying to avoid the condemnations and denunciations to them even by committing hacking crimes and kicking up the racket of anti- Republic smear act and against “pro-North forces” even by using an international hackers group — is indeed the last-ditch effort that those who are horrified by our ultra hard-line position are making in their death throes. Reality clearly shows that the gang of puppets is indeed a herd of unparalleled traitors under heaven and a group of extremely wicked unforgivable criminals.
We will never tolerate the gang of puppets’ anti-Republic confrontational racket and its ugly, evil practice of harming their fellow countrymen.
The hostile forces at home and abroad can never obstruct our cause of justice, no matter how despicably they may scheme.
DPRK state media published a statement (tamhwa) on 30 March (Saturday) from “the government, political parties and organizations of the DPRK.” Unlike the recent volley of statements, or indeed most communications published and broadcasted in state media, the 30 March 2013 statement was not issued under the name of any specific organization (s). The statement is not cited as the work of the DPRK National Defense Commission, the KPA Supreme Command or Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces from the DPRK national security community, it was not an individual or joint statement of the Foreign Ministry, the DPRK Cabinet or the Supreme People’s Assembly, it was not linked to any specific political parties such as the Korean Workers’ Party, the Ch’o’ndoist Ch’o’ngu Party or the Korean Social Democratic Party and it was not issued in the name of various organizations such as the National Peace Committee of Korea oe Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, the Korean Democratic Women’s Union or the Kim Il Sung Youth League.
While no organization or elite cohort has claimed neither provenance nor authorship of the statement, it may foreshadow the “important important issue for victoriously advancing the Korean revolution and make a drastic turn in accomplishing the Chuch’e revolutionary cause under the banner of the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism” which is planned for the upcoming KWP Central Committee plenary meeting (plenum), which will be held on Sunday (31 March) one day ahead of the 7th session of the 12th SPA on 1 April (Monday).
The statement, according to KCNA:
The moves of the U.S. imperialists to violate the sovereignty of the DPRK and encroach upon its supreme interests have entered an extremely grave phase. Under this situation, the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un, brilliant commander of Mt. Paektu, convened an urgent operation meeting on the performance of duty of the Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army for firepower strike and finally examined and ratified a plan for firepower strike.
The important decision made by him is the declaration of a do-or-die battle to provide an epochal occasion for putting an end to the history of the long-standing showdown with the U.S. and opening a new era. It is also a last warning of justice served to the U.S., south Korean group and other anti-reunification hostile forces. The decision reflects the strong will of the army and people of the DPRK to annihilate the enemies.
Now the heroic service personnel and all other people of the DPRK are full of surging anger at the U.S. imperialists’ reckless war provocation moves, and the strong will to turn out as one in the death-defying battle with the enemies and achieve a final victory of the great war for national reunification true to the important decision made by Kim Jong Un.
The Supreme Command of the KPA in its previous statement solemnly declared at home and abroad the will of the army and people of the DPRK to take decisive military counteraction to defend the sovereignty of the country and the dignity of its supreme leadership as regards the war moves of the U.S. and south Korean puppets that have reached the most extreme phase.
Not content with letting B-52 make sorties into the sky over south Korea in succession despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK, the U.S. made B-2A stealth strategic bomber and other ultra-modern strategic strike means fly from the U.S. mainland to south Korea to stage a bombing drill targeting the DPRK. This is an unpardonable and heinous provocation and an open challenge.
By taking advantage of the U.S. reckless campaign for a nuclear war against the DPRK, the south Korean puppets vociferated about “preemptive attack” and “strong counteraction” and even “strike at the commanding forces”, openly revealing the attempt to destroy monuments symbolic of the dignity of the DPRK’s supreme leadership.
This clearly shows that the U.S. brigandish ambition for aggression and the puppets’ attempt to invade the DPRK have gone beyond the limit and their threats have entered the reckless phase of an actual war from the phase of threat and blackmail.
The prevailing grim situation more clearly proves that the Supreme Command of the KPA was just when it made the judgment and decision to decisively settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists and south Korean puppets by dint of the arms of Military-First politics (So’ngun), because time when words could work has passed.
Now they are openly claiming that the B-2A stealth strategic bombers’ drill of dropping nuclear bombs was “not to irritate the north” but “the defensive one”. The U.S. also says the drill is “to defend the interests of its ally”. However, it is nothing but a lame pretext to cover up its aggressive nature, evade the denunciation at home and abroad and escape from the DPRK’s retaliatory blows.
The era when the U.S. resorted to the policy of strength by brandishing nuclear weapons has gone.
It is the resolute answer of the DPRK and its steadfast stand to counter the nuclear blackmail of the U.S. imperialists with merciless nuclear attack and their war of aggression with just all-out war.
They should clearly know that in the era of Marshal Kim Jong Un, the greatest-ever commander, all things are different from what they used to be in the past.
The hostile forces will clearly realize the iron will, matchless grit and extraordinary mettle of the brilliant commander of Mt. Paektu that the earth cannot exist without Military-First (So’ngun) Korea.
Time has come to stage a do-or-die final battle.
The government, political parties and organizations of the DPRK solemnly declare as follows reflecting the final decision made by Kim Jong Un at the operation meeting of the KPA Supreme Command and the unanimous will of all service personnel and people of the DPRK who are waiting for a final order from him.
1.From this moment, the north-south relations will be put at the state of war and all the issues arousing between the north and the south will be dealt with according to the wartime regulations.
The state of neither peace nor war has ended on the Korean Peninsula.
Now that the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK have entered into an actual military action, the inter-Korean relations have naturally entered the state of war. Accordingly, the DPRK will immediately punish any slightest provocation hurting its dignity and sovereignty with resolute and merciless physical actions without any prior notice.
2. If the U.S. and the south Korean puppet group perpetrate a military provocation for igniting a war against the DPRK in any area including the five islands in the West Sea of Korea or in the area along the Military Demarcation Line, it will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.
It is self-evident that any military conflict on the Korean Peninsula is bound to lead to an all-out war, a nuclear war now that even U.S. nuclear strategic bombers in its military bases in the Pacific including Hawaii and Guam and in its mainland are flying into the sky above south Korea to participate in the madcap DPRK-targeted nuclear war moves.
The first strike of the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will blow up the U.S. bases for aggression in its mainland and in the Pacific operational theatres including Hawaii and Guam and reduce not only its military bases in south Korea but the puppets’ ruling institutions including Chongwadae and puppet army’s bases to ashes at once, to say nothing of the aggressors and the provokers.
3. The DPRK will never miss the golden chance to win a final victory in a great war for national reunification.
This war will not be a three day-war but it will be a blitz war through which the KPA will occupy all areas of south Korea including Jeju Island at one strike, not giving the U.S. and the puppet warmongers time to come to their senses, and a three-dimensional war to be fought in the air, land and seas and on the front line and in the rear.
This sacred war of justice will be a nation-wide, all-people resistance involving all Koreans in the north and the south and overseas in which the traitors to the nation including heinous confrontation maniacs, warmongers and human scum will be mercilessly swept away.
No force on earth can break the will of the service personnel and people of the DPRK all out in the just great war for national reunification and of all other Koreans and overpower their might.
Holding in high esteem the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu, the Korean people will give vent to the pent-up grudge and realize their cherished desire and thus bring a bright day of national reunification and build the best power on this land without fail.
Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported on 13 March (Wednesday) that the DPRK was blocked from accessing the Internet. The several thousand DPRK citizens with dedicated connections experienced trouble accessing the Internet and a number of DPRK websites (such as KCNA the Korea Sports Foundation) on the (.kp) top-level domain [IDNccTLD] could be neither be accessed nor viewed. For several hours on 13 March, some state media sites on the (.kp) domain were viewable. On 11 March (Monday) the website for the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun had provided a message in Korean that said there were problems with its server. ITAR-TASS, which maintains a correspondent in Pyongyang, reported: “Access to the Internet was blocked in North Korea on Wednesday. According to an informed source, Internet resources of the country have come under a powerful hacker attack from abroad.”