Archive | KKH RSS feed for this section

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.

Wreath Laying Ceremonies Held to Mark 64th Anniversary of Kim Jong Suk’s Death

22 Sep
A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un at the memorial bust of his grandmother Kim Jong Suk at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un at the memorial bust of his grandmother Kim Jong Suk at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

A floral wreath laying ceremony were held at the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk (Kim Cho’ng-suk) at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September (Sunday) to mark the 64th anniversary of her death.  Similar wreath-laying ceremonies were held the same day in front of Kim Jong Suk statues in Hoeryo’ng, North Hamgyo’ng Province (her birth place) at the Kim Jong Suk Naval Academy in South Hamgyo’ng Province and the Kim Jong Suk General Military Academy.  Kim Jong Suk (1917-1949) was the first wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and mother of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and current Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui.  Kim Jong Suk died in Pyongyang on 22 September 1949 due to complications from an extra-uterine pregnancy.

Attending the wreath laying ceremony at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery were Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), along with other senior KWP, KPA and DPRK Government officials.  A floral wreath sent by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was delivered to the memorial bust, as well as wreath jointly sent by the KWP Central Committee, the SPA Presidium and the DPRK Cabinet.  Wreaths sent by the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the Ministry of People’s Security and from “working people’s organizations, ministries, national institutions, KPA units, scientific, educational and media institutions, joint national organizations of the Korean Children’s Union, party and power bodies, factories and farms in Pyongyang” were also delivered.  According to KCNA, “participants paid silent tribute to her, recollecting her revolutionary life.”

Floral wreaths delivered to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk to mark the 64th anniversary of her death in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Floral wreaths delivered to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk to mark the 64th anniversary of her death in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Members of the DPRK central leadership visit Kim Jong Suk's memorial bust at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang to mark her death anniversary on 22 September 2013.  Among those in attendance are: Gen. Kim Won Hong (L), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (2nd L), VMar Ri Yong Mu (3rd L), VMar Kim Yong Chun (4th L), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (5th L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (6th L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (7th L), Kim Yong Nam (8th L), Pak Pong Ju (9th L), Kim Ki Nam (10th L),  Choe Tae Bok (11th L), Pak To Chun (12th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (13th L) (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the DPRK central leadership visit Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang to mark her death anniversary on 22 September 2013. Among those in attendance are: Gen. Kim Won Hong (L), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (2nd L), VMar Ri Yong Mu (3rd L), VMar Kim Yong Chun (4th L), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (5th L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (6th L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (7th L), Kim Yong Nam (8th L), Pak Pong Ju (9th L), Kim Ki Nam (10th L), Choe Tae Bok (11th L), Pak To Chun (12th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (13th L) (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and Young Red Guards salute Kim Jong Suk's memorial bust in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and Young Red Guards salute Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

DPRK citizens pay their respects to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk, wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

DPRK citizens pay their respects to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk, wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Kim Jong Suk's obituary (Photo: KCTV/NKLW archive photo).

Kim Jong Suk’s obituary (Photo: KCTV/NKLW archive photo).

Kim Jong Un Attends KPISF Concert

12 Sep
Kim Jong Un applauds after a performance by the Korean People's Internal Security Forces' Song and Dance Ensemble for the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation, held at Ponghwa Art Theater in Pyongyang.  Also in attendance is his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Kim Jong Un applauds after a performance by the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces’ Song and Dance Ensemble for the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation, held at Ponghwa Art Theater in Pyongyang. Also in attendance is his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK state media reported Tuesday (10 September) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a concert for the 65th anniversary of the country’s founding given by the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces’ Song and Dance Ensemble.  Attending the concert were Ri Sol Ju (Kim Jong Un’s wife), 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 National Defense Commission), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Kim Kyong Hui (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Kim Jong Un’s aunt), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary), Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security) along with ” members of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee, chief secretaries of the Provincial Party Committees, members of the central guidance organ of the Party in Pyongyang, deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly, ministers of the Cabinet, service personnel of the KPA and the KPISF, scientists and technicians in the field of scientific research, teachers and researchers of universities in the city, overseas Koreans, diplomatic envoys of different countries and representatives of international organizations and military attaches of foreign embassies here and their wives and other foreign guests.”  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at a Worker-Peasant Red Guards military parade and Pyongyangites’ demonstration in Kim Il Sung Square on 9 September.

The concert began “Song of the Proclamation of the People’s Republic” and included “male and solo chorus ‘Oh My Motherland of So’ngun,” “male guitar quartet ‘We Will Live Like in Those Days,” and “dance ‘The Post I Am Defending.’”  According to KCNA members of the KPISF Song and Dance Ensemble “highly praised the immortal exploits the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) performed by building a socialist power centred on the popular masses,the first of its kind in the history of the nation spanning five thousand years, and providing solid foundations for the eternal prosperity of the country” and they “sang the praises of the advantages of the socialist system in the DPRK and represented the pledge of all the service personnel and people to creditably defend the country.”  After the concert Kim Jong Un “congratulated the performers on their successful performance, waving to enthusiastically cheering performers and audience” and “appreciated the creators and artistes of the ensemble for greatly contributing to celebrating the 65th anniversary of the DPRK with splendor by devoting their creative wisdom and enthusiasm to make good preparations of the performance in a short span of time.”

Scenes from a performance by the Korean People's Internal Security Forces' Song and Dance Ensemble, given to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Scenes from a performance by the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces’ Song and Dance Ensemble, given to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Pak Is Back

10 Sep
KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (annotated), the DPRK's leading official in the production of conventional and advanced weapons, attends a 9 September 2013 parade and demonstration marking the country's 65th anniversary.  Also seen in attendance are Kim Kyong Hui (L), Kim Ki Nam (2nd L) and Choe Yong Rim (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (annotated), the DPRK’s leading official in the production of conventional and advanced weapons, attends a 9 September 2013 parade and demonstration marking the country’s 65th anniversary. Also seen in attendance are Kim Kyong Hui (L), Kim Ki Nam (2nd L) and Choe Yong Rim (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Pak To Chun on the parade review platform in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, attending a 9 September 2013 parade marking the DPRK's 65th anniversary (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Pak To Chun on the parade review platform in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, attending a 9 September 2013 parade marking the DPRK’s 65th anniversary (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

The DPRK’s leading official in the production of conventional and advanced weapons has reappeared following a four-month absence from state media.  Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and National Defense Commission [NDC] Member Pak To Chun attended the Worker-Peasant Red Guard parade and Pyongyangites’ demonstration held in Pyongyang on 9 September (Monday) to mark the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation.  During the parade Pak stood on the parade review platform with other VIPs, standing between KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok and Honorary Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium Vice President Choe Yong Rim.  Pak’s last observed appearance occurred in early May, when he attended sports competitions between workers in the public health sector.  Pak’s absence from the DPRK’s political culture was especially noticeable when he did not attend Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) tour of Jagang Province, where Pak was an influential KWP official and industrial manager.  When Pak failed to attend a number of events to mark the end of the active hostilities of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War in July, he was presumed to have been removed from office.  A number of reasons for Pak’s disappearance or possible dismissal were given, including the failure of a possible test launch of the Mususan intermediate range ballistic missile and allegations of corruption.  Pak To Chun’s disappearance from state media might be correlated to the rise and fall of Gen. Kim Kyok Sik.  Gen. Kim was appointed Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff around the same time Pak disappeared.  Pak only re-emerged in DPRK public life after Gen. Kim Kyok Sik was removed as chief of the general staff.

Pak To Chun (L) accompanies Kim Jong Il on a tour of the Kanggye General Tractor Plant in December 2009 (Photo: KCNA).

Pak To Chun (L) accompanies Kim Jong Il on a tour of the Kanggye General Tractor Plant in December 2009 (Photo: KCNA).

WPRK Parade and Demonstration Held to Mark DPRK’s 65th Anniversary

10 Sep
2013-09-10-02-04

Kim Jong Un waves to a crowd from the parade review platform in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013, during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation. Also seen on the platform with him are Jang Song Taek (L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd L), Kim Ki Nam (3rd R), Kim Yong Nam (2nd R) and Pak Pong Ju (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Worker-Peasant Red Guards [WPRG] staged a parade, followed by a demonstration by Pyongyangites, in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September (Monday), the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK.  Kim Jong Un attended the WPRG parade and demonstration.  Also on the reviewing platform were senior DPRK officials including Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), “the chairperson of a friendly party, officials of the party, armed forces organs and the Cabinet and chief secretaries of Provincial Party Committees of the WPK” along with “Kwon Sun Hwi, advisor to the Central Standing Committee of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and Choe Un Bok, chairwoman of the General Association of Koreans in China.”  Also in attendance were “deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly, officials of the party, armed forces and power bodies, social organizations, ministries and national institutions, service personnel of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, officials in the fields of science, education, literature and arts, public health and media, merited people, delegations of overseas Koreans and other compatriots and the chief of the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front” and “foreign delegations and delegates, foreign diplomatic envoys and representatives of international bodies and their wives and military attaches here and other foreign guests.”

Minister of the People's Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (foreground) presents Worker-Peasant Red Guard members to participate in a parade marking the 6th anniversary of the foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (foreground) presents Worker-Peasant Red Guard members to participate in a parade marking the 6th anniversary of the foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (C) delivers a speech at a parade and demonstration in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation.  Also seen in attendance is Minister of State Security Gen. Kim Won Hong (L) and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Gen. O Kuk Ryol (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (C) delivers a speech at a parade and demonstration in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation. Also seen in attendance is Minister of State Security Gen. Kim Won Hong (L) and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Gen. O Kuk Ryol (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

The flags of the DPRK and Korean Workers’ Party were raised with musical accompaniment.  WPRG members were ceremoniously inspected then presented to Kim Jong Un by Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Gen. Jang Jong Nam.  After the presentation of the WPRG members DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech in which, according to KCNA, he said “that the history of the DPRK clearly proves immutable truth that the great leaders assure the high dignity and prosperity of the country and nation” and “stressed that the army and people of the DPRK holding the peerlessly great men in high esteem generation after generation will as ever dynamically advance along the road of independence, Military-First (So’ngun) and socialism and it will shine forever as the socialist state of Juche with the invincible might.”

After Pak’s speech the WPRK parade began with the marching of flags displaying of the portraits late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and his son late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).  This was followed by WPRG members emptying Kim Il Sung Square and its vicinity to mark past the parade reviewing platform.  The WPRG members consisted of reserve military training units members of the WPRG’s units from the provinces, at industrial complexes and agricultural sites, along with WPRG units of the Ministries of Land Management and Public Health, reserve units from DPRK universities and members of the Young Red Guard.  The parade marchers were followed by a ride-past of multiple-launch rockets systems [MLRS] and towed artillery pieces.  A parade and demonstration by the citizens of Pyongyang followed the WPRK parade which began with a float consisting of replicas of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues amid a a sea of people carrying the DPRK flag.  According to KCNA “columns of dancers depicting the national flag, Taekwon-do players, military families, artistes, scientists, sportspersons, teachers and medical workers walked past the square” and “letters reading ‘Kim Il Sung’, ‘Kim Jong I’, ‘Kim Jong Un’, ‘Glory’, ‘Celebration of 65th Anniversary’, ‘Great Mt. Paketu (Paektusan) Nation’, ‘Speed on Masik Pass’, ‘Economic Power’, ‘Single-minded Unity’, etc. were presented on the square and the flags of the DPRK and the WPK were portrayed in succession.”

View of the Grand People's Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country's foundation.  Also viewable in this image behind the study house are the KWP Organization Guidance Department, the Pyongyang Ice Rink and the Red Wall Apartments (inhabited by KWP Secretaries) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of the Grand People’s Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation. Also viewable in this image behind the study house are the KWP Organization Guidance Department, the Pyongyang Ice Rink and the Red Wall Apartments (inhabited by KWP Secretaries) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guard march through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang during a parade marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guard march through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang during a parade marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Red tractors tow multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) through Kim Il Sung Square on 9 September 2013 as part of the WPRK parade (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Red tractors tow multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) through Kim Il Sung Square on 9 September 2013 as part of the WPRK parade (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Towed multiple-launch rocket systems ride through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Towed multiple-launch rocket systems ride through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Parade floats which were part of a demonstration by Pyongyangites which followed the WPRG parade, held on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Parade floats which were part of a demonstration by Pyongyangites which followed the WPRG parade, held on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un waves to a parade and demonstration held to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013.  Also seen in attendance are: VMar Kim Yong Chun, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Jang Song Taek and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Photo: KCTV still).

Kim Jong Un waves to a parade and demonstration held to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013. Also seen in attendance are: VMar Kim Yong Chun, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Jang Song Taek and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Photo: KCTV still).

At the end of the parade “there were loud hurrahs resounding far and wide, fireworks being shot up and balloons rising to the sky.  Kim Jong Un, accompanied by VMar Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Taek, walked along the parade reviewing platform’s deck with Kim Jong Un waving to the crowd.

A few recent internal political issues (involving personnel matters) could be observed at the WPRK parade and demonstration.  Events held to mark the DPRK’s 65th anniversary were going to provide clarity on the current officeholder of Chief of the KPA General Staff.  Based on the standing order on the parade reviewing platform, Gen. Ri Yong Gil was standing in the spot previously occupied by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik indicating that Gen. Ri has replaced Gen. Kim.  Ri Yong Gil has also been replaced, with a new and unknown Chief of the General Staff Operations Bureau attending to Kim Jong Un during the WPRG parade.  The anniversary event also marked the return of KWP Secretary and weapons industry boss Pak To Chun.  Pak had not appeared in state media for several months and distinctly absent from war anniversary events in July.  Pak was shown at least three times, standing along side other senior KWP officials.   Kim Jong Un’s walk along the parade reviewing platform’s balcony to wave to the crowd was an interesting tabeleaux du régime for leadership dynamics.  Usual post-parade platform walks by the supreme leader have usually involved senior officials such as the SPA Presidium President, the DPRK Premier and the Chief of the KPA General Staff; instead, Kim Jong Un was accompanied by KPA General Political Department Director VMar Choe Ryong Hae and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek.  When taken with images and film footage of the war anniversary events from July,  Kim Jong Un’s balcony walk shows the DPRK’s top three political officials.

Kim Jong Un Visits Construction of Mirim Riding Club and Munsu Wading Pool

10 Aug
Kim Jong Un (3rd L) gestures whilst issuing instructions on the design of the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang.  Also seen in attendance is Hwang Pyong So (L), Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (3rd L) gestures whilst issuing instructions on the design of the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang. Also seen in attendance is Hwang Pyong So (L), Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 9 August (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visit the ongoing construction of the Mirim Riding Club and the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang.  He was accompanied by Pak Tae Song (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Deputy Department Director), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Ma Won Chun (KWP Deputy Department Director) and Lt. General Kim Su Gil.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the construction of apartments designated for scientists.

After a briefing on the equestrian club’s construction, according to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “was very satisfied to learn that the soldier-builders have done a lot of work in a brief span of time by overcoming bottlenecks and difficulties in the revolutionary soldier spirit” and he said “the appearance of the modern Mirim Riding Club would help working people and school youth and children enjoy horse riding there to have sound mentality and strong physical bodies for labor and national defense.”    He issued instructions on the clubs construction and said “stressed the need to build well a room for preserving historic relics to convey the exploits performed by leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) in guiding the club and construct indoor riding exercise hall, riding school, service building and other structures to be impeccable even in the distant future.”  He instructed that a rest area be constructed where people could relax after riding horses, along with a veterinary hospital and a research institute to increase the number of the club’s horses.  According to KCNA he said that “it is also necessary to take steps for successfully operating the club in a far-sighted manner while accelerating the construction of the club” and that “it is important to properly choose a unit for operating the club, organize a horse riders association and scrupulously do a work for providing things such as vehicles, lawn mowers and sprinkler trucks necessary for the management and operation of the club.”  Kim Jong also “expressed expectation and conviction that the soldier-builders and officials concerned would successfully complete the construction of the club till the 68th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea.”

Construction of facilities at the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Construction of facilities at the Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) issues instructions about the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang.  Also seen in attendance is architect and leading construction manager, KWP Department Deputy Director Ma Won Chun (L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) issues instructions about the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang. Also seen in attendance is architect and leading construction manager, KWP Department Deputy Director Ma Won Chun (L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches the progress of the construction of the outdoor pool and water amusements at Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches the progress of the construction of the outdoor pool and water amusements at Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un also visited the ongoing construction of the Munsu Wading Pool.  After his arrival, he received a briefing on the progress of the wading pool’s construction.  He toured the lobby “with keen interest” and instructed that a a statue of his father, late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, be erected on the premises.  According to KCNA he said “the completion of the wading pool would mean carrying out the behest of Kim Jong Il who worked heart and soul to provide a comprehensive wading pool to the people” and added “how nice it would be if it were built in the lifetime of Kim Jong Il.”  Kim Jong Un was also “satisfied to learn that the roof of the wading pool is made with ball truss to suit the nature of the multi-service indoor wading pool and covered with glass to admit sunrays.”  He toured the indoor waiting pool where he also saw water tanks and the construction of outdoor water amusement facilities.  He said that the “Munsu Wading Pool will operate as a multi-service sports centre when the rooftop of the indoor wading pool will have volleyball, badminton and basketball courts, and skate park, sand volleyball court and other sports and amusement facilities will appear around the outdoor wading pool” and that “Munsu Wading Pool will be crowded with people and school youth and children in the future. . . everyone feels pleasant when thinking of this.”  Kim Jong Un “praised the builders for taking measures for using terrestrial heat so as to consume electricity as less as possible” and “underlined the need to plant trees of good species in the area of the outdoor wading pool to suite environment, and create larger area of turf.”  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un said that “it is the determination and will of the Workers’ Party of Korea to successfully complete the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool as a world class one and provide the people with it till the anniversary of the Party founding” and he “expressed expectation and conviction that the soldier-builders would unconditionally finish the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool as scheduled and materialize the plan of the WPK in revolutionary practice.”

This was Kim Jong Un’s third reported visit to the Mirim Riding Club since November 2012.  The riding club was previously the headquarters and training ground of the equestrian company of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit #534.  It was the setting for one of the first observed appearance of late leader Kim Jong Il, after he successfully recuperated from a series of strokes in 2008.  During his visit in November 2012, according to state media, Kim Jong Un said “that he had a plan to turn the equestrian training ground — which is currently used by the people’s army — into an equestrian ground where working people, youths, and children can build up their physical strength, and he thus tasked a relevant sector with mapping out a blueprint for the plan and he had now come to the ground to acquaint himself firsthand with the state of the equestrian training ground” and that the “respected and beloved marshal said that the equestrian club should be remodeled in a modern way at an early date to present it to the people.”  In calling for the construction of the Mirim Riding Club, Kim Jong Un remarked “that more than anything else a good design is necessary, if Mirim Equestrian Club is to be excellently built in line with the demands of the new century” and “said that designs should be prepared by many designing units, and then the best design should be selected among all the designs prepared.”

Late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visits the equestrian company subordinate to KPA Unit #534 on 4 November 2008 (L) and Kim Jong Un visits the equestrian company on 19 November 2012 and renamed it the Mirim Riding Club (Photos: KCTV-Yonhap; KCNA).

Late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visits the equestrian company subordinate to KPA Unit #534 on 4 November 2008 (L) and Kim Jong Un visits the equestrian company on 19 November 2012 and renamed it the Mirim Riding Club (Photos: KCTV-Yonhap; KCNA).

Kim Family members and core DPRK elites Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Taek (1) Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong (2) and Kim Jong Un's aunt and Mr. Jang's wife Kim Kyong Hui (3) riding horses at the Mirim equestrian grounds in Pyongyang in November 2012 (Photos: KCNA, KCTV; NK Leadership Watch archives photos).

Kim Family members and core DPRK elites Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Taek (1) Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong (2) and Kim Jong Un’s aunt and Mr. Jang’s wife Kim Kyong Hui (3) riding horses at the Mirim equestrian grounds in Pyongyang in November 2012 (Photos: KCNA, KCTV; NK Leadership Watch archives photos).

Designs of a structure at Munsu Wading Pool (L) resemble the banquet hall at the Kim family's residential compound in Ryongso'ng District in northern Pyongyang (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrab, Digital Globe).

Designs of a structure at Munsu Wading Pool (L) resemble the banquet hall at the Kim family’s residential compound in Ryongso’ng District in northern Pyongyang (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrab, Digital Globe).

Design for indoor pool at Munsu Wading Pool (L) resembles indoor water amusement facilities at the Kim Family's residential compound in Ryongso'ng District in northern Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrab and Digital Globe).

Design for indoor pool at Munsu Wading Pool (L) resembles indoor water amusement facilities at the Kim Family’s residential compound in Ryongso’ng District in northern Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrab and Digital Globe).

When Kim Jong Un made his second visit to the Mirim Riding Club’s construction in early May 2013, he expressed his displeasure with construction personnel from the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces for not following instructions on the club’s design.  According to KCNA, “recalling that he sent information about riding schools in different countries and a lot of reference books to build the club on a world level, he criticized the officials for failing neither to use them as reference nor study them and building it in a manner completely different from the design he had instructed to send to a designing organ of the KPA among those reported to him by various designing institutions.”  This was the second of three incidents where Kim Jong Un has publicly upbraided party and army officials.**  During his most recent visit Kim Jong Un was described as  “very satisfied ” that “soldier-builders have done a lot of work in a brief span of time by overcoming bottlenecks and difficulties.”

This was Kim Jong Un’s second reported visit to the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool, although the project has not wanted for attention by top DPRK officials  with two visits each by DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju and KPA General Political Department Director VMar Choe Ryong Hae.  The wading pool, which replaces one that existed until the early 2000s, has been under construction since February 2013.

**The other occasions on which Kim Jong Un expressed his displeasure with subordinate officials was during a May 2012 visit to Mangyo’ngdae Fun Fair and a June 2013 visit to the 18 January General Machine Plant.  

Kim Jong Un Attends Football Match and Archery Competition

1 Aug
Kim Jong Un and senior DPRK officials watch a football (soccer) match between the Hwaebul and 25 April teams (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un and senior DPRK officials watch a football (soccer) match between the men’s Hwaebul and 25 April teams (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

On 31 July (Wednesday), Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a men’s football (soccer) match and an archery competition.  Attending the athletic competitions with him were 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, Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Administration Department and Kim Jong Un’s uncle), Kim Kyong Hui (KWP Secretary and department director and Kim Jong Un’s aunt), Kang Sok Ju (DPRK Vice Premier), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Pak Tae Song (KWP Deputy [vice] Department Director), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Kim Pyong Ho (KWP Deputy [vice] Department Director), Kim Yong Hun (KWP Deputy [vice] Department Director), Ma Won Chun (KWP Deputy [vice] Department Director), Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff), Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sport), Ri Ju Bong (Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports KWP Committee) and Jon Yong Nam (Chairman of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee).

A football (soccer) match between the Hwaebul Team, of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee, and the 25 April Team, of the Korean People's Army (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

A football (soccer) match between the men’s Hwaebul Team, of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee, and the 25 April Team, of the Korean People’s Army (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un congratulates members of the Hwaebul Team after their victory over the 25 April Team (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un congratulates members of the men’s Hwaebul Team after their victory over the 25 April Team (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with the players and coaches of the Hwaebul men's football (soccer) team after their victory over the 25 April men's team.  Also in the photo, R, is KIS Socialist  Youth League Central Committee Chairman Jon Yong Nam, holding the game ball (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with the players and coaches of the Hwaebul men’s football (soccer) team after their victory over the 25 April men’s team. Also in the photo, R, is KIS Socialist Youth League Central Committee Chairman Jon Yong Nam, holding the game ball. The scoreboard in the background says the game occurred in the early evening of 31 July 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The men’s football match was between the Hwaebul (flaming torch) Team, of the KIS Socialist Youth League Central Committee, and the 25 April Team, from the Korean People’s Army.  According to KCNA’s account of the game the Hwaebul squad “took the initiative from the beginning of the match and intensified the attack.  When the team went over to a surprise counterattack from defense, forward Kim Yong Gwang scored the first goal in the 27th minute of the first half.”  The 25 April squad “made all-out attack, not loosing confidence” and “finally managed to score equalizer with back Ji Kwang Hyok making a precise shot amid a mess in the goal area.”  Hwaebul “trounced its rival by scoring two more goals in the eleven meter penalty kick.”  After the match, Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction over the nice match and congratulated them on their success in the match.”  Kim Jong Un went onto the field and posed for commemorative photograph with the team and its coach.  According to KCNA he said “young people should take the lead in raising hot sports wind, too, as the country will be alive when the youth league goes dynamic,” emphasized that “the great importance of soccer in exalting the honor of the country” and said that “it is necessary to round off the soccer techniques, tactics and training methods of Korean style and put them on a higher scientific basis in order to develop soccer.”  Kim Jong Un also remarked that “what is important for developing soccer is to find out more reserves for players, underscoring the need to build a well-regulated training system, push ahead with the training tenaciously and frequently organize matches among schools at all levels in particular” and he “underlined the need to increase public concern and state assistance for soccer, calling on officials to pay deep attention to it.”  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un “expressed his belief that the sportspersons would perform their duty and mission for bringing sports events including soccer to the world level as they instill confidence and optimism about sure victory into the army and people.”

Kim Jong Un watches an archery competition between the 25 April Defense Sports Team and the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team.  Among those also seen attending the competition are the DPRK women's football (soccer) squad who won the 2013 EAFF cup, Jon Yong Nam (standing, 2nd L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (seated, 3rd L), Jang Song Taek (seated, 3rd R) and Jang's wife and Kim Jong Un's aunt Kim Kyong Hui (seated, R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches an archery competition between the 25 April Defense Sports Team and the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team. Among those also seen attending the competition are the DPRK women’s football (soccer) squad who won the 2013 EAFF cup, Jon Yong Nam (standing, 2nd L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (seated, 3rd L), Jang Song Taek (seated, 3rd R) and Jang’s wife and Kim Jong Un’s aunt Kim Kyong Hui (seated, R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Archery competition between the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team and the 25 April Defense Sports Team (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Archery competition between the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team and the 25 April Defense Sports Team (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (seated, 4th L) watches an archery competition between the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team and the 25 April Defense Sports Team.  Among senior DPRK officials in attendance is DPRK Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju (seated, 2nd L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (seated, 4th L) watches an archery competition between the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team and the 25 April Defense Sports Team. Among senior DPRK officials in attendance is DPRK Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju (seated, 2nd L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un also watched an archery competition between the 25 April Defense Sports Team, of the KPA, and the Amnokgang Defense Sports Team, of the Ministry of the People’s Security.  The competition consisted of women’s team, mixed team and individual women’s ends (events).  Kim Jong Un praised the archers when they hit a bull’s eye, according to KCNA.  The 25 April Defense Sports Team won the competition.  Kim Jong Un remarked that “mental power of the players is important for winning world championship in the archery as is the case with other sports events” and emphasized “the need to motivate the mental power of players so that they may play matches to exalt the honor of the country.”  Kim Jong Un also said “great efforts should be directed to archery as it is quite possible for the DPRK’s archers to win international games including Olympics” and “underscored the need to round off archery techniques of Korean style and scientific training methods and fully ensure training conditions.”  According to KCNA, he “told officials to pay deep attention to archery and take measures to provide best bows, arrows and other apparatuses to the archers.”

Kim Jong Un Meets with Women Football Players

31 Jul
Kim Jong Un meets with DPRK women footballers who won the 2013 EAFF Championship which were held in Seoul ROK on 27 July 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un meets with DPRK women footballers who won the 2013 EAFF Championship which were held in Seoul ROK on 27 July 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 31 July (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) met with women footballers (soccer players) who won the 2013 East Asian Football Federation Cup held in Seoul, South Korea (ROK) on 27 July.  Attending the meeting were 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 and Culture Commission), Kim Kyong Hui (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Vice Chairman Jang’s wife), Kang Sok Ju (DPRK Vice Premier), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Pak Tae Song (KWP Department Deputy [vice] Director), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Kim Pyong Ho (KWP Department Deputy [vice] Director), Kim Yong Hun (KWP Department Deputy [vice] Director)  Ma Won Chun (KWP Department Deputy [vice] Director), Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff), Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Ri Ju Bong (Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports KWP Committee) and Jon Yong Nam (Chairman of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Central Committee).

Kim Jong Un walks with women soccer players who won the East Asia Football Federation Cup (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un walks with women soccer players who won the East Asia Football Federation Cup (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with DPRK women footballers after holding a congratulatory meeting with them (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with DPRK women footballers after holding a congratulatory meeting with them (Photo: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un began the meeting by shaking hands and congratulating the team members and their head coach Kim Kwang Min for their win and “exalting the honor of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea.” According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said “highly praised the distinguished successes made by Kim Un Ju, winner of the prize of best player, Ho Un Byol, winner of the prize of top scorer, and Chief Coach Kim Kwang Min, who led the team to victory” and that “the women soccer players of the DPRK fully displayed the Chuch’e-oriented methods of playing and their high techniques, persevering spirit and teamwork.  By winning the cup on the day, the 60th anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War, they added joy and jubilation to the servicepersons and people of the country significantly celebrating July 27 and instilled into them confidence of sure victory and optimism.  To emerge a winner and let the flag of the DPRK fly in international football games has great appeal and influence stronger than thousands of words in arousing all the service personnel and people to feats in their work.”  Kim Jong Un also remarked that “”as our country has a tradition in women’s soccer and it has a good chance of success, it is important to channel big efforts and direct deep attention to further developing the female soccer so as to produce many soccer stars like Ri Kum Suk, who earned fame in international games.”  Kim Jong Un reiterated his praise for the players, presented them with gifts and posed for commemorative photographs with the women footballers.”

New Director of Party Finance and Accounting Department (revised)

24 Jul
Han Kwang Sang (standing behind KJU, L) has been appointed director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch/Rodong Sinmun file photo).

Han Kwang Sang (standing behind KJU, L) has been appointed director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch/Rodong Sinmun file photo).

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.

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Il's (C) January 2010 guidance tour of the Hyangsan Hotel.  Also seen in attendance is KWP Deputy Department Director and architect Ma Won Chun (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Il’s (C) January 2010 guidance tour of the Hyangsan Hotel. Also seen in attendance is KWP Deputy Department Director and architect Ma Won Chun (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Han Kwang Sang (standing, 3rd R) attended late leader Kim Jong Il's meeting with PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, held  on 31 October 2011 (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK).

Han Kwang Sang (standing, 3rd R) attended late leader Kim Jong Il’s meeting with PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, held on 31 October 2011 (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK).

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 524 other followers