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Kim Jong Un Inspects Ung Islet Defense Detachment

6 Jul
Kim Jong Un inspects the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un inspects the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Ung Islet (Photo: Google image).

Ung Islet (Photo: Google image).

DPRK state media reported on 7 July (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspected Ung Islet Defense Detachment, located off the coast of South Hamgyo’ng Province.  Attending the inspection with him were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department) and Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Director of the KPA Firepower Commanding Department).  KJU’s last observed appearance was his visit to the Songdowon International Children’s Camp.

After being greeted by command staff, KJU’s first stop during his inspection was at a monument commemorating a field inspection by his grandfather, late DPRK founder and president Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng).  KJU “recollected with deep emotion the undying exploits performed by the President and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) for the development of the defense detachment” and noted that “Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il worked heart and soul for the development of the KPA.”  KJU also underscored “the need for the service personnel of the detachment to turn the Ung Islet into an impregnable fortress and thus glorify for all ages the feats performed by Kim Il Sung  and Kim Jong Il  in commanding the army.”  He watched an artillery exercise and was “greatly satisfied to see them accurately hit the target,” according to KCNA, and “was very pleased to meet the crack shots.”

Artillery training exercise conducted by the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Artillery training exercise conducted by the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches an artillery exercise by the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches an artillery exercise by the Ung Islet Defense Detachment (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un during an inspection of Ung Islet.  Also seen in attendance is Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (center) and VMar Hwang Pyong So (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un during an inspection of Ung Islet. Also seen in attendance is Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (center) and VMar Hwang Pyong So (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with service members of the Ung Islet Defense Detachment following an artillery training exercise (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with service members of the Ung Islet Defense Detachment following an artillery training exercise (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un instructed a “crack shot” certificate (and inevitably, a  plaque) be award to the artillery piece involved in the exercise and presented “crack shot” medals and badges to the members of the islet defense detachment, 1st platoon of its 1st company.  Then he posed for commemorative photos with the KPA Personnel.  KJU also watched a heavy gymnastics exhibition.  According to KCNA, he “set forth important tasks which would serve as guidelines for rounding off the combat capability of the detachment” and said that “the commanding officers of the detachment should prepare themselves as commanding officers and political cadres of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il style and intensify the political and ideological education among the service personnel to train them as revolutionaries and patriots strong in idea and faith and possessed of versatile knowledge and high cultural attainments.”  KJU also “stressed the need for the detachment to always direct efforts to the anti-U.S. education and class education, regardless of conditions and circumstances, so that the service personnel may make training part of their life and habit with burning hatred towards the enemies” and “gave an instruction to the detachment to turn it into one of crack shots so that it may send the enemies intruding into the waters of the DPRK to the bottom of the sea to the last man once a battle kicks off and thus not allow them to set foot even an inch of its inviolable land.”

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with officers, service members and military families stationed on Ung Islet (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with officers, service members and military families stationed on Ung Islet (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un then toured the barracks, quarters, bathing facilities, mess and supply stores “to take deep care of the living of their service personnel as their real father would do.”  He was also briefed about supply service to the islet defense detachment and the education of the children of officers and service members stationed on the islet.  He “stressed the need to pay particular attention to the living of the service personnel there and their families” and  “showed deep loving care for the defense detachment.”  KJU ended his inspection by attending a commemorative photo-op with the defense detachment’s personnel and members of their families.

Kim Jong Un Guides Island Landing Drill

4 Jul
Kim Jong Un watches an island landing drill.  Also seen in attendance are Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Gill (1) and KPA Navy Commander VAdm Kim Myong Sik (2) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un watches an island landing drill. Also seen in attendance are Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Gill (1) and KPA Navy Commander VAdm Kim Myong Sik (2) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

 

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 5 July (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) guided and observed an island landing drill.  Korean People’s Army [KPA] infantry, artillery, naval assets and air craft participated in the landing drill.  In attendance with KJU were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff) and Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau).  KJU’s last observed appearance was his attendance and supervision of a swimming assessment of KPA Navy command staff.

Kim Jong Un was briefed about the plans for the drill, ordered the drill to begin and the site “looked like an active volcano.”  According to KCNA as he watched the landing drill unfold, Kim Jong Un remarked that “it was possible to deal deadly blows at the enemies through initial strikes if the time for striking was properly fixed and fire was concentrated on them through prompt, accurate and united actions” and  the drill’s participants “were excellent and deserved to be called a-match-for-a-hundred fighters as they underwent intensive training day and night with the extraordinary awareness that a combat drill should be carried out as scheduled.”  KJU also “noted with great satisfaction that the drill was successful as it met the requirements of the Chuch’e-based war method.”

Kim Jong Un reviews plans for an island landing drill conducted by the three service branches of the KPA.  Also in attendance is Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon, Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un reviews plans for an island landing drill conducted by the three service branches of the KPA. Also in attendance is Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon, Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un confers with members of the KPA high command during an island landing drill.  Seen in attendance are VMar Hyong Pyong So (1), Director of the KPA General Political Department, Gen. Pyon In Son (2), Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau, and Gen. Ri Yong Gil (3), Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un confers with members of the KPA high command during an island landing drill. Seen in attendance are VMar Hyong Pyong So (1), Director of the KPA General Political Department, Gen. Pyon In Son (2), Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau, and Gen. Ri Yong Gil (3), Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un and senior KPA officials watch an island landing drill (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un and senior KPA officials watch an island landing drill (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un salutes KPA Navy service members from a warship following an island landing drill (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un salutes KPA Navy service members from a warship following an island landing drill (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

He also inspected naval vessels from a KPA Navy warship and “congratulated the participants in the drill on their success.”  He “set forth important tasks which would serve as guidelines for further developing the People’s Army into the ever-victorious revolutionary armed forces.”  According to KCNA he said that “history proves that it is impossible to protect the destiny of the country and its people unless the army is bolstered up,” and underscored “the need to put more spurs to increasing the military strength which means the sovereignty of the country and the nation and the national power.”  KJU called on “the KPA to intensify the training essential for augmenting the military strength” and  “instructed the commanding officers to thoroughly do away with formalistic, ready-made and stylish practices in training and steadily improve forms, contents and methods of training as required by the modern warfare.”  He also “instructed them to frequently organize a similar drill in the future, always bearing in mind training means a battle” and “called on the whole army to defend the sky, land and seas of the socialist homeland as firm as an iron wall, watching every movement of the enemies with vigilance.”

Kim Jong Un recalled that “the inviolable waters on the southwestern front of the country are exposed to frequent threat due to a handful of enemies and there was a dangerous incident in which the shells fired by them dropped in territorial waters of the DPRK some days ago” and said that he “took it very seriously and he was closely watching them.”  KJU also “strongly warned that should the enemies repeat the wrong choice on the wrong day in the hotspot waters, he would make them regret bitterly for their action.”

Kim Jong Un Supervises Missile Test Firings (updated and revised June 29)

29 Jun
Kim Jong Un at a rocket drill by the KPA Strategic Rocket Forces on or around 29 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un at a rocket drill by the KPA Strategic Rocket Forces on or around 29 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 29 June (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended and supervised the tactical missile firing drill conducted by the Korean People’s Army [KPA] Strategic Rocket Forces.  Attending the test firing of the two short-range Scud missiles was VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department).  At the drill site KJU was joined by Commander of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force Col. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom and other senior command staff of the SRF.  KJU’s last observed appearance was his visit to the recently constructed Kalma Foodstuffs Factory.

After receiving a briefing on the rocket drill, Kim Jong Un ordered that the drill commence.  KCNA reported that the drill “smoothly conducted on the basis of a scientific calculation of the whole course of the rocket firing and the scrupulous security check and search for flight orbit and targeted waters” and “had no slight impact not only on the regional peace and security but on international navigation order and ecological environment.”  After the drill, KJU “expressed great satisfaction over the successful firing of tactical rockets” and participated in a commemorative photo-op with KPA service member and officer participants in the drill.

Kim Jong Un observes a "tactical rocket firing" drill of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force on 29 June 2014 near Wo'nsan, Kangwo'n Province (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un observes a “tactical rocket firing” drill of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force on 29 June 2014 near Wo’nsan, Kangwo’n Province (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un talks with KPA Strategic Rocket Force commander Col. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom and the SRF's vice commander (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un talks with KPA Strategic Rocket Force commander Col. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom (R) and the SRF’s vice commander (C) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photos: Rodong Sinmun).

(Photos: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with participants in the KPA Strategic Rocket Force's 29 June 2014 drill that used two short-range Scud missiles (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with participants in the KPA Strategic Rocket Force’s 29 June 2014 drill that used two short-range Scud missiles (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with service members and officers of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force after their participation in a drill on 29 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with service members and officers of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force after their participation in a drill on 29 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said that “the peaceful environment dearest to the DPRK people can neither be provided by someone nor can be bartered for anything” and  “that as durable peace can be protected only when one is so strong that nobody dares provoke one and it can be guaranteed by one’s own strength, it is necessary to put the biggest spurs to bolstering up the self-defensive deterrent of the KPA in every way to protect the security and peace of the country and firmly defend the gains of the revolution.”  He “underscored the need to round off the combat readiness of the strategic force so that no aggressors may recklessly dare threaten and infringe upon the cause, sovereignty and vital rights of the DPRK and to further develop and perfect Chuch’e-oriented rocket science and technology and firing methods.”  Kim Jong Un also “expressed great expectation and belief that the service personnel of the strategic force would keep themselves fully ready to fire the highly effective ballistic rockets any moment on high alert as required by the prevailing situation and the developing revolution and thus foil the reckless acts of the U.S. imperialists and their followers who are steeped in evil repugnancy and pursue inveterate hostile policy toward the DPRK and provide a firm guarantee for the building of a thriving socialist nation.”

The test firing of the Scuds (or “ballistic rockets”) was observed around 5:00 KST on 29 June, the DPRK test fired two short-range Scuds, again from a site near Wo’nsan.

Kim Jong Un observes a missile test flight on or around 26 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un observes a missile test flight on or around 26 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

On 27 June (Friday) that KJU attended the test firing of tactical guided missiles.  Attending this test firing with him were VMar Hwang Pyong So, Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff) and Hong Yong Chil (Deputy [vice] Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Machine-Building Industry Department).  KJU’s last observed appearance at that time was a visit to the construction of the Pyongyang Baby Home and Orphanage.

After being briefed on on the “the tactical and technological information of the newly developed guided missiles” Kim Jong ordered that the test firing commence. KCNA reported that the “test-fire proved that the tactical guided weapons didn’t have an inch of deviation in their scientific and technological performance” and that the test was “another shining success made by scientists in the field of national defense and workers in the field of munitions industry in their efforts to implement the WPK’s policy of manufacturing high-precision, lighter, automatic and intelligent weapons and equipment.”  The missile test “helped the KPA get the master key to putting all strike means including short-, medium- and long-range guided weapons on ultra-precision basis of the world level and opened a bright prospect for maximizing their striking accuracy and power.”  The “test-fire at a time when the U.S. and the south Korean puppet regime and all other allied forces are going extremely reckless in the moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and unleash a war of aggression marked a significant event in bolstering up the defense capability for self-defense” and “greatly encourages the service personnel and people of the DPRK.”

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

(Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un speaks to KPA and WPK munitions industry officials after a missile test flight held on or around 26 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks to KPA and WPK munitions industry officials after a missile test flight held on or around 26 June 2014 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction over the results of the test-fire” and remarked that “officials and workers in the fields of national defense science and munitions industry would manufacture more ultra-precision tactical guided weapons capable of taking the decisive initiative in any operation and battle of the modern warfare through accurate preemptive strikes, always bearing in mind the expectations of the party and the people.”  KJU also “advanced new tasks to be fulfilled by the field of national defense science and technology.”

The test firing of the missiles was first observed at around 17:00 KST on 26 June (Thursday).  An unnamed official of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] speculated to Yonhap that “their range is some 190 kilometers, and we are now looking into exactly what type of rockets North Korea fired” and noted that the KPA’s KN-09 300 mm MRL has “a similar range.”  The JCS official also said the “300-millimeter launcher is known to have an up to 160 kilometer range” and that “as of now, it is yet to be confirmed if the North enhanced its capacity.”

 

Kim Jong Un visits the January 18 General Machinery Plant in South P'yo'ngan Province in May 2014.  Also in attendance is Hong Yong Chil (1) a leading party official in the development and production of missiles and WMDs (Photo: KCTV).

Kim Jong Un visits the January 18 General Machinery Plant in South P’yo’ngan Province in May 2014. Also in attendance is Hong Yong Chil (1) a leading party official in the development and production of missiles and WMDs (Photo: KCTV).

The January 18 General Machinery Plant is a leading producer of missile engines.  The plant was tasked by the central leadership in May 2014 to boost its production of missile engines for the DPRK's short- and  medium-range missiles (Photo: Google image).

The January 18 General Machinery Plant is a leading producer of missile engines. The plant was tasked by the central leadership in May 2014 to boost its production of missile engines for the DPRK’s short- and medium-range missiles (Photo: Google image).

This latest pair of missile tests is probably linked to a missile production policy initiated by Kim Jong Un in May 2014.  According to both DPRK and ROK sources, KJU ordered an increase in the production of short- and medium-range missiles.  On 14 May, DPRK state media reported that Kim Jong Un visited the January 18 General Machinery Plant in South P’yo’ngan Province.  During his visit he said that the “plant should put the production processes on a CNC and unmanned basis in order to boost the production of highly efficient machine products needed by various fields of the national economy and achieve successes in the work for developing new varieties of products” and he “set the goals to be attained by the plant in the near future and promised with loving care to solve all the problems arising in updating it including the provision of all latest equipment needed for it.”  He also opined that the plant is “the eldest brother-like plant and a heart-like plant in developing the nation’s machine-building industry and the Party attaches great importance to this plant.I came here today to turn the plant into a model one, a pivotal and core one representing the machine plants of our country.”

Pak Thae Song (Pak T'ae-so'ng), circled, deputy director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department, attends Kim Jong Un's May 2014 visit to the January 18 General Machinery Plant (Photo: KCTV).

Pak Thae Song (Pak T’ae-so’ng), circled, deputy director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department, attends Kim Jong Un’s May 2014 visit to the January 18 General Machinery Plant (Photo: KCTV).

The plan to renovate and upgrade the January 18 General Machinery Plant is a key aspect of KJU’s missile production policy because it will manufacture missile engines for the DPRK’s eventual new inventory of short- and medium-range missiles.  Additional missile production is also expected to be carried out at other industrial facilities in South P’yo’ngan Province.  Underscoring the importance of South P’yo’ngan Province in DPRK missile production, Kim Jong Un has tapped one of his close aides to monitor the progress of manufacturing as well as the renovation of the January 18 General Machinery Plant.  In late May, WPK Organization Guidance Department deputy [vice] director Pak Thae Song (Pak T’ae-so’ng) was appointed Chief Secretary of the South P’yo’ngan WPK Provincial Committee.  In this position, Pak will ensure that relevant factory managers and functionaries in South P’yo’gan comply with KJU’s instructions on missile production.

Pak Tae Song attends a KJU visit to a lake near Anju, South P'yo'ngan Province in January 2014 (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Pak Tae Song attends a KJU visit to a lake near Anju, South P’yo’ngan Province in January 2014. Pak was appointed the party’s regional boss in the province in May (Photo: NK Leadership Watch file photo).

 

 

 

 

Kim Jong Un Observes and Guides KPA Company Commanders Shooting Competition

30 Oct
Kim Jong Un (C) speaks during a practical shooting competition of particpants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors.  Also seen in attendance are VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Director of the KPA General Political Department, and Gen. Ri Yong Gil (R), Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (C) speaks during a practical shooting competition of particpants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors. Also seen in attendance are VMar Choe Ryong Hae (L), Director of the KPA General Political Department, and Gen. Ri Yong Gil (R), Chief of the KPA General Staff (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 29 October (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended and guided a shooting contest of participants in the 4th Meeting of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Company Commanders and Political Instructors.  Also in attendance were VMar Choe Ryong Have (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces) along with other senior KPA officials and commanding officers.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at a concert of the Merited State Choir and Moranbong Band.

Upon arrival, Kim Jong Un said that he “was very pleased to meet again the company commanders and political instructors whom he wished to see every day” and he noted “that the KPA is holding the shooting contest unprecedented in the history of army building with all company commanders and political instructors of the whole army attending.”  He also said that “servicepersons cannot satisfactorily fulfill their combat duties when they are not good at shooting even if they are prepared well politico-ideologically and physically” and “that only when company commanders and political instructors become good marksmen, can they train their soldiers to be crack shots never missing targets.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said “this shooting contest was organized to make the torch of the movement for becoming crack shots and master gunners rage more furiously in the whole army.”

View of the leadership platform at a shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of the leadership platform at a shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of attendees and participants in a shooting competition of KPA company commanders and political instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of attendees and participants in a shooting competition of KPA company commanders and political instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the venue of a practical shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the venue of a practical shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View from the leadership platform of a practical shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View from the leadership platform of a practical shooting competition of participants in the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

KPA company commanders and political instructors, selected from the national meeting, took part in the contest with “the method of deciding on standing of services of the army, army corps level and that of individuals according to the points they gained by hitting targets in the given distance and within the given time.”  KPA Unit #233 and KPA Unit #604 placed first in the shooting competition, the KPA Navy, KPA Unit #287 and KPA Unit #318 placed second and KPA Unit #549 and KPA Unit #569 placed third.  In individual competitions political instructor Ri Yong Chol of KPA Unit #380, political instructor Kang Un Chol  and company commander Pak In Sok of KPA Unit #604 placed first in individual competitions, company commander Ri Sang Chol of KPA Unit #380 placed second, political instructor Jon Yong Gol of KPA Unit #313, company commander Ri Kwang Hyok of KPA Unit #233, company commander Sung Myong Sim of KPA Unit #549, company commander Kim Kwang Hyon of KPA Unit #593 and company commander Han Ok Ju of KPA Unit #287 placed third.  Prizes were awarded during a post-compeition ceremony.

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un remarked that “this shooting contest offered the company commanders and political instructors an opportunity to keenly realize that only when they become crack shots themselves, can they train all soldiers to be crack shots and master gunners” and he indicated “tasks to be carried out to intensify shooting drills and ways to do so.”

Kim Jong Un speaks during the shooting competition (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks during the shooting competition (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of leadership platform as Kim Jong Un speaks at practical shooting competition of KPA company commanders and political instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of leadership platform as Kim Jong Un speaks at practical shooting competition of KPA company commanders and political instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks during the shooting competition (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks during the shooting competition (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

KPA Holds Loyalty Rally After Company Commanders Meeting

28 Oct
VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department , speaks at a rally of KPA officers and service members at Ku'msusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department , speaks at a rally of KPA officers and service members at Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

The Korean People’s Army [KPA] staged a loyalty rally at Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday) to “pay high tribute to President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and thoroughly implement the important tasks set forth by Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) in his historic speech made at the 4th meeting of company commanders and political instructors of the Korean People’s Army.”  Attending the rally were KPA officers and service members, along with VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security Political Bureau), senior KPA officials and KPA commanding officers.

Rally of KPA officers and service members to honor late leaders Kim Il-so'ng and Kim Cho'ng-il and pledge loyalty to Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

Rally of KPA officers and service members to honor late leaders Kim Il-so’ng and Kim Cho’ng-il and pledge loyalty to Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on 28 October 2013 (Photos: KCNA).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae delivered a speech in which, according to KCNA, he “vowed to turn all companies of the KPA into elite combat units devotedly defending the supreme commander” and said that “all service personnel of the KPA are watching with vigilance the reckless moves of the enemies to stifle the DPRK militarily and all companies will go into action at a breath and blow up all the bases for aggression with merciless deadly strikes if the supreme commander issues an order.”  Choe’s remarks were followed by speeches from KPA company commanders and political instructors.  Ham Yong Bong, a company commander, “pledged to train soldiers in simulated conditions of a real war, prepare them to be a-match-for-a-hundred fighters and make his company a tiger company blowing up bases for aggression before any other companies once a fight breaks out.”  KPA Navy political instructor Pak Hyon Su said “that all the sailors would become human torpedoes and send aggressors to the bottom of sea if they intrude into the inviolable territorial waters of the DPRK even a bit.”  KPA Air and anti-Air Command company commander Ri Chol Ho “declared that airmen would keep themselves highly alerted and intensify flight training as required by the prevailing situation and wipe out enemies with Korean style powerful strike means once the supreme commander issues an order.”

4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors Held

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kim Jong Un Inspects New Warships and Commands Exercises

12 Oct
Kim Jong Un (L) during an inspection of recently constructed KPA Navy warships.  Also in attendance are VAdm Kim Myong Sik (2nd L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (3rd L) and Ju Kyu Chang (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (L) during an inspection of recently constructed KPA Navy warships. Also in attendance are VAdm Kim Myong Sik (2nd L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (3rd L) and Ju Kyu Chang (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 11 October (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspected “newly built” warships and guided their exercises.  Attending the inspection were Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), VAdm Kim Myong Sik (Commander of the KPA Navy), Ju Kyu Chang (Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Machine-Building Industry Department) and Hong Yong Chil (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department).  Kim Jong Un’s last appearance was his attendance at sports and folk game competitions on 10 October, the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party.

Kim Jong Un inspects newly constructed warships of the KPA Navy (Photos: KCNA).

Kim Jong Un inspects newly constructed warships of the KPA Navy (Photos: KCNA).

After arriving on site, functionaries involved in the manufacturing of the warships greeted Kim Jong Un.  According to KCNA, “scientists, technicians and workers of the DPRK built new type warships of Korean-style based on the latest achievements of military science and technology by displaying all their creative wisdom and enthusiasm in hearty response to the tasks given by Kim Jong Un on building modern warships necessary for rounding off the combat preparations of the navy.”  Kim Jong Un was briefed about the warships’ displacement, weapons systems and communications equipment.  He “praised the scientists, technicians and workers for successfully building the modern warships which are on a high level of intelligence and light in weight in a brief span of time true to the Party’s idea on pushing back the frontiers of latest science and technology.”  After inspecting the warships, he commanded their training maneuvers.  He noted “that the new warships are fully capable of displaying their performance under any combat circumstances” and he “expressed great pleasure with the induction of more powerful means into the navy for rounding off its combat preparations.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Unset forth important tasks to be fulfilled to bolster up the naval force and steadily increase its naval operation combat capability as required by a modern warfare.”

Kim Jong Un Visits Ku’msusan

10 Oct
Kim Jong Un and senior KPA officials visit Ku'msusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on 10 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un and senior KPA officials visit Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on 10 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the Ku’msusan (Memorial) Palace of the Sun at midnight on 10 October (Thursday), the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP].  Visiting Ku’msusan with him were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), along with senior KPA officials, commanders of KPA service branches and corps units, and members of the KPA’s KWP Committee.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was at a commemorative photo session with members of the Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) University faculty who were moving into a new apartment complex.

Kim Jong Un and the members of the KPA’s high command first visited a hall containing statues of his grandfather, late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, and his father, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).  Floral baskets from Kim Jong Un and the KPA were placed in front of the statues.  The group went to a chamber where Kim Il Sung’s remains permanently lie in state.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “together with other visitors paid homage to him in the humblest reverence.”  They then visited an exhibition of awards, titles, honorary degrees Kim Il Sung received as well as Kim Il Sung’s personal railway coach and car.  The group then visited the chamber where Kim Jong Il’s personal remains lie permanently in state and “paid homage to him in the humblest reverence.”  Kim Jong Un and the senior military leaders then visited an exhibition containing awards, state titles and honorary degrees that Kim Jong Il received and an exhibition of Kim Jong Il’s personal railway coach, an electric cart, his boat and his black Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan.

The Ku’msusan visit on the party’s anniversary was the first observed occasion in DPRK state media at which Gen. Ri Yong Gil was identified as Chief of the KPA General Staff.  Interestingly, on a party-centered occasion, the coterie that accompanied Kim Jong Un on his latest visit to Ku’msusan consisted only of senior KPA officials.  While some members of the KPA’s high command are members of the Party Central Committee or the Party Central Military Commission and with the exception of VMar Choe Ryong Hae (KWP Secretary of Military Affairs), no members of the KWP Secretariat or any KWP Central Committee Department Directors were reported to be in attendance.

View of the statue hall at Ku'msusan Palace of the Sun on 10 October 2013, the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Workers' Party (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of the statue hall at Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun on 10 October 2013, the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

General Staff Statement Says KPA “Ready to Promptly Launch Operations Any Time”

8 Oct
KPA General Staff (NK Leadership Watch graphic)

KPA General Staff (NK Leadership Watch graphic)

The Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff issued a statement on 7 October (Monday) which said that the KPA’s “the units of all services and army corps level of the KPA received an emergency order from its supreme command on October 5 (Saturday) to reexamine the operation plans already ratified by it and keep themselves fully ready to promptly launch operations any time” in response to ongoing joint US-ROK maritime exercises under way in the East Sea (Sea of Japan).  The General Staff described the routine exercises, scheduled from 30 September to 13 October involve the aircraft carrier USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and include anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, air defense exercises and education and cultural exchanges.  The KPA General Staff also said that the US “should bear in mind that the more frequently and the deeper its imperialist aggression forces’ nuclear strike means including the nuclear carrier enter the air above the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula and waters off it, the more unpredictable disasters their actions will cause” and that the “U.S. should bear in mind that the Korean people and army are highly alerted to promptly and confidently cope and foil blatant provocations of any hostile forces in the world with its own powerful military muscle.”

According to KCNA, the spokesman for the KPA General Staff statement said:

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is now getting strained again though the tension had been defused thanks to the patient efforts on the part of the DPRK.

This is entirely attributable to the persistent anti-DPRK military confrontation of the U.S. and Japanese aggressors and south Korean puppet forces.

As already reported, the nuclear-powered carrier strike group of the navy of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces entered Pusan Port again at dawn of October 4. It participated in the DPRK-targeted joint naval maneuvers which had been under way secretly in the East Sea of Korea since September 30.

This strike group is made up of the U.S. super-large nuclear-powered carrier George Washington with at least 100 nuclear bombs aboard, many guided-missile destroyers, cruisers, submarines and escort warships, etc.

It is reported that the strike group will get involved in the DPRK-targeted large-scale joint naval strike maneuvers in the South Sea of Korea from Tuesday together with warship groups of the Japanese aggression forces and south Korean puppet navy.

Now the U.S. imperialists are openly advertising that the drills to be staged with the aircraft carrier task force as an axis are a planned military offensive to pressurize the DPRK in a bid to deter its possible “provocations” including nuclear test and missile launch and lead it to “changes” desired by them.

This clearly proves that the remarks of such high-ranking officials of the U.S. Obama administration as the secretary of State that the U.S. neither pursues a hostile policy towards the DPRK nor has the will to attack it are sheer lies.

The gravity of the situation is that all these military moves are timed to coincide with the adoption of the “tailored deterrence strategy” presupposing a preemptive strike at the DPRK between the master and its servant.

In this connection, the units of all services and army corps level of the KPA received an emergency order from its supreme command on October 5 to reexamine the operation plans already ratified by it and keep themselves fully ready to promptly launch operations any time, watching with high vigilance every move of the U.S. and Japanese aggressors and the puppet forces.

The U.S. should bear in mind that the more frequently and the deeper its imperialist aggression forces’ nuclear strike means including the nuclear carrier enter the air above the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula and waters off it, the more unpredictable disasters their actions will cause.

The U.S. will be wholly accountable for the unexpected horrible disaster to be met by its imperialist aggression forces’ nuclear strike means as it is deploying them regardless of the time.

In this regard the DPRK invariably holds that if the U.S. administration stands for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and is interested in the peace and security in the region, the U.S., not the DPRK, should make a decision to move first.

Because it is none other than the U.S. which adopted an extremely hostile policy toward the DPRK, spawned the nuclear issue on the peninsula and has posed a constant nuclear threat to it.

The U.S. should bear in mind that the Korean people and army are highly alerted to promptly and confidently cope and foil blatant provocations of any hostile forces in the world with its own powerful military muscle.

The same day (5 October) that the General Staff states that “the units of all services and army corps level of the KPA received an emergency order from its supreme command on October 5 to reexamine the operation plans already ratified by it and keep themselves fully ready to promptly launch operations any time,” an editorial denouncing the joint US-ROK military exercises was published in Rodong Sinmun which said, in part:

The maneuvers to provoke a war of northward aggression by the US imperialists and South Korean puppet warmongers are heading toward a reckless stage. As reported, the South Korean puppets are attempting to bring in the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier “George Washington” and perpetrate a joint maritime exercise in the East Sea of Korea. The fact that a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is crawling into South Korea at an acute juncture when North-South relations lie between dialogue or confrontation is an issue that should not be overlooked with indifference. For warmongers at home and abroad to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in a large-scale joint maritime exercise opposing us is very dangerous, reckless behavior aimed at destroying the atmosphere of dialogue and peace and once again driving the situation toward the worst confrontational phase, as well as a direct challenge and overt military threat to our peaceful efforts.

Although the puppets have clamored that this war exercise is an “annual” event and “preparation against provocation,” there is no one who will heed such cheap wordplay. The very fact that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is equipped with all types of cutting-edge firepower equipment such as scores of latest fighter jets and missiles and commands 20 ships — including a nuclear submarine, cruiser, and destroyer — is a serious military provocation and a prelude to a war of northward aggression. Moreover, given the fact that the USS “George Washington” is a war monster that gained notoriety in the hotspots of the world in the past, the situation is very grave.

The United States and the puppet warmongers have already carried out a nuclear strike exercise targeting us while continuously introducing nuclear strategic bombers in the airspace above South Korea during the “U’lchi Freedom Guardian” joint military exercises held last August. Following this, they are frantically attempting to conduct joint maritime exercises by once again bringing in a nuclear-powered nuclear aircraft carrier. This clearly shows what reckless stage the war provocation attempt of northward aggression by warmongers at home and abroad has reached.

There are three differences between the General Staff’s 7 October statement and the 5 October Rodong editorial.  The General Staff’s statement refers to an “an emergency order from its supreme command” and it says that KPA service branches and corps units are “fully ready to promptly launch operations.”  The statement also directly alludes to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remark on 2 October that “We are prepared to have a peaceful relationship with North Korea. We are not engaged in regime change. We are prepared to sign a non-aggression agreement — providing North Korea decides to denuclearize and to engage in legitimate negotiations to achieve that end.”  The KPA General Staff’s statement follows up another 7 October statement of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (f.k.a. the Committee for the Reunification of the Fatherland) reacting to the US-ROK policy of “bilateral strategy for tailored deterrence” announced at the 45th Security Consultative Meeting held between US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and ROK Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin in Seoul on 2 October:

The U.S. is trying to ignite a nuclear war while talking about “sign of the use of nuclear weapons” by the DPRK on the Korean Peninsula, the statement noted, and went on:

The military confab for aggression has created a touch-and-go situation in which an accidental case or a misjudgment may lead to a nuclear war.

It is illogical for the Park Geun Hye regime to cry out for “dismantlement of nuclear weapons” and “denuclearization” of the DPRK while openly revealing its scheme for a nuclear war against the DPRK in league with the U.S.

The U.S. and the puppet regime are trying hard to put political and military pressure on the DPRK, deter the DPRK’s offensive for dialogue and peace and escalate the tensions through frantic nuclear war provocation moves and thus attain without fail their aggression purposes. This only heightens the indignation of the army and people of the DPRK.

Should the U.S. and the puppet forces opt for the provocation of a nuclear war against the DPRK, defying its warnings, it will resolutely counter them.

The U.S. imperialists and the puppet forces should not run amuck, clearly aware of the spirit of the army and people of the DPRK to annihilate enemies.

The General Staff’s statement also builds on a lengthy statement released by the National Defense Commission [NDC] Policy Department on 4 October (Friday) which contained only generic references to the ROK “conspir(ing) outsiders under the pretext of leading the DPRK to ‘change.'”  Unlike the the General Staff’s statement, the NDC Policy Department’s statement was a catalogue of the DPRK’s grievances against the ROK including the Park Administration’s approach to inter-Korean relations, a speech made by ROK President Park Geun-hye and ROK military parade that included the Hyunmoo-2 short-range ballistic and the Spike anti-tanks missiles.  The NDC Policy Department statement was paired with one on 5 October (Saturday) from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.  This appears to be a publicity tactic by the DPRK’s image makers in which a statement issued from a key security organization is released with a statement from a key civilian organization.  In releasing the KPA General Staff’s statement, the process was reversed; the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea statement was the lead-in for that of the General Staff.  This may be a matter of balancing the institutional affiliation of the DPRK’s message bearers.  It could indicate a certain degree of solidarity (and policy agreement) among senior DPRK military and civilian policymakers on the country’s interactions and relations with the ROK.

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

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

This was the first statement released by the KPA General Staff since April 2013, a period in which inter-Korean relations were tense and security on the Korean Peninsula was fragile.  In April the KPA General Staff issued two statements, one on 4 April which objected to the B-52 bomber’s participation in joint US-ROK military exercises and another on 12 April which denied DPRK involvement in cyberattacks on ROK institutions.

The statement also marked the first significant public activity by the General Staff since the August 2013 appointment of Gen. Ri Yong Gil as chief.  Gen. Ri, former commander of the hardline forward-deployed V Army Corps, attended a 29 March 2013 meeting chaired by DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) at which “he signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in south Korea.”  Also attending the meeting was Gen. Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, who manages the NDC Policy Department.

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