DPRK state media reported on 5 July (Saturday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju (Pak Pong-chu) visited the construction of the Wisong Street apartment complex and the renovation of May Day Stadium. According to KCNA Pak toured the construction sites and encouraged “the builders working a fresh miracle through a collective innovation movement, in hearty response to the instructions given by Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) while providing field guidance to them.” He also “called on the builders to step up the construction on the highest level so that they may take responsibility for the safety of the projects and guarantee their absolute quality for all eternity and widely introduce the advanced building methods” and “underscored the need to satisfactorily supply materials needed for the finishing projects.”
Following a meeting of senior DPRK and Mongolian government officials at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday), the two countries signed two economic agreements, along with a technology exchange agreement. DPRK Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam and Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga signed a cooperation agreement on industry and agriculture. Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Kim Jong Suk and Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold signed a cooperation agreement on cultural and sports exchanges and tourism. DPRK Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport Kwak Il Ryong and Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold signed an agreement on cooperation in the road and transportation sectors. Jong Song Chang Deputy (vice) General Director of the DPRK General Bureau of Software Industry and Ambassador Ganbold on behalf of theMongolian IT, Post and Telecommunications Bureau signed a 2013 to 2015 technology exchange agreement “in the field of IT.”
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a delegation of senior Mongolian government officials arrived in Pyongyang on 28 October (Monday) for a four-day visit ending on 31 October. President Elbegdorj’s visit will commemorate the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Mongolian relations and lead to the expansion of the countries’ bilateral ties. Greeting Elbegdorj at Pyongyang Airport were Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Pak Ui Chun (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Ri Ryong Nam (Minister of Foreign Trade), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), Son Kwang Ho (Vice Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kwang Il Ryong (Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport), Hong Kyu (DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia), Kim Jin Bom (Vice Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and Chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association) and other DPRK officials. Also greeting President Elbegjorj at the airport was Mongolian Ambassador to the DPRK Manibadrakh Ganbold.
Elbegdorj was accompanied by his wife, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Luvsanvandan Bold, Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga, Secretary General of the National Security Council Tsagaandari Enkhtuvshin, Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Tserendejid Byambajav, Vice Minister of Road Transport Khabshai Erjan, Presidential National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor Lundeg Purevsuren, Presidential Advisor for Mass Liaison and Mass Policy Amgalanbaatar Ganbaatar, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Pureb Altangerel and other Mongolian government officials. During the welcoming ceremony for the Mongolian delegation, President Elbegdorj reviewed an honor guard consisting of the KPA’s three service branches and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards. Representatives of DPRK women workers and children of Mongolian diplomatic staff stationed in the DPRK presented floral bouquets to Elbegdorj and his wife.
Following the delegation’s arrival, Elbegdorj and senior Mongolian officials met with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang. Attending the meeting from the DPRK were Pak Ui Chun, Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kim Jong Suk (Chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries), Pak Kil-yo’n (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), Kwang Il Ryong, Hong Kyu and other DPRK officials. According to KCNA, “both sides exchanged views on the issue of boosting the bilateral relations of friendship and other issues of mutual concern” during the meeting and the “talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.”
Two construction projects linked to the DPRK’s policy of promoting sports and physical culture were opened in Pyongyang on 3 October (Thursday). A ceremony was held on Thursday marking the opening of the renovation of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, a venue for political meetings, commemorative photo-ops and athletic competitions located on a bank of the Pot’ong River in the city centre next to the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Committee Office Complex. Attending the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the SPA Presidium), Kwak Pom Gi (KWP Secretary and Director of the Finance and Planning Department), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee), Ro Tu Chol (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission), Kim Yong Jin (DPRK Vice Premier), Kim In Sik (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the Capital City Construction Commission), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff) along with “exemplary construction workers who took part in the remodeling construction; functionaries and employees of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports and Pyongyang Indoor Stadium; players, coaches, and members of the cheering squad taking part in the National Sports Contest of Provincial Teams; (and) working people of Pyongyang and the youth and students.”
Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech in which he said that “Supreme leader Kim Jong Un unfolded a plan for giving a facelift to the stadium, which is associated with the leadership feats of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and contributed to the development of the country’s sports and the cultural and emotional life of the working people, as required by the new century, and wisely led the work to do so.” According to KCNA Pak also “called on all officials and other people to pay deeper social attention to the sports, raise the hot wind of sports across the country through mass sports activities and thus glorify forever the undying feats of the WPK which has provided the people with the best base for sports and cultural life. ” After the ceremony, participants toured the stadium and watched the Provincial Teams’ National Sports Contest.
In east Pyongyang, at the Central Youth Hall, on 3 October a ceremony was held at which DPRK athletes were given residence certificates to live in a recently constructed apartment complex in the Pyongyang’s Pot’onggang District. Attending the ceremony were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Kim Ki Nam, External Construction Guidance Bureau officials and athletes receiving apartments. In his speech at the ceremony Kim Ki Nam said that “the houses reflectMarshal Kim Jong Un’s great expectation that the sportspersons will display ardent enthusiasms and faithfully uphold the WPK’s idea on turning the DPRK into a sports power” and he “stressed the need for officials in the sports field, players and coaches to make contributions to demonstrating the dignity and honor of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea with gold medals.” According to KCNA the athletes’ apartments have”several living rooms, a kitchen, a washroom, a toilet, etc. and are furnished with household goods and high-class furniture. ” On 5 October (Saturday), members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visited the athletes and their families in the apartments. They brought housewarming gifts and “told the sportspersons to give fuller play to the might of Kim Il Sung’s nation and Kim Jong Il’s Korea by winning gold medals in international games in the future and thus encourage all the service personnel and people dynamically advancing towards a final victory in the building of a thriving socialist nation.”
Members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visit athletes’ apartments on 5 October 2013.
DPRK state media reported on 28 September (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the construction of two apartment towers for the faculty of Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) University [KISU]. He was accompanied by Choe T’ae Bok (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Ma Won Chun (KWP Department Deputy Director), T’ae Hyong Chol (President of KISU and Secretary-General of the SPA Presidium) and Kim T’ae Hi (Chief Secretary of the KISU KWP Committee). Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance public appearance was his visit to May Day Stadium.
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un toured the premises around the apartment towers and visited several of the units. According to KCNA, he “was satisfied to see the exterior of the apartment houses peculiarly decorated with color tiles and hard glass” and said the apartments were ” properly fitted with furniture according to the design he had already ratified, the floors are covered with quality material and the colors and patterns of the wallpapers gave the feeling of comfort.” Kim Jong Un “promised to provide every household with a TV set and more sets of varieties of tableware as he had said” and “told officials to fix a bookshelf to the wall of the study in front the table so that teachers and researchers may study and prepare their teaching plans in their houses without any inconvenience and a round mirror to the wall of the corridor to their convenience.” He toured a common area and said it “has been successfully built so that teachers and researchers may have stroll, reading and amusement games and their children may play to their satisfaction.” During a stop at one the apartment towers’ verandas he “was pleased that the apartment houses are located in a good place and their appearance made the Ryonghung Crossroads look nicer.” According to KCNA he said that “there is nothing to spare for teachers and researchers of the university who train scientific talents who will be responsible for the future of the country in the age of knowledge-based economy, age of campaign of brains” and “expressed expectation and conviction that educators of Kim Il Sung University would achieve bigger successes in the education of younger generation and training of talents true to the party’s intention.”
DPRK state media reported on 18 September (Wednesday) that members of the DPRK’s central leadership visited the recently constructed U’nha Scientists’ Street in Pyongyang. Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly President), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier) and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army General Political Department) along with DPRK Vice Premiers and Korean Workers’ Party Department Deputy (vice) Directors “congratulated those who gratis had de luxe flats built under the loving care of supreme leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) to live in luxury and comfort” and “presented utensils to householders as souvenirs.” According to KCNA, the DPRK elites learn “about their children and house-keeping and hearing their impressions of the new flats, the officials told them about the devoted efforts made by Kim Jong Un to bring about the present happy event and the great and benevolent policy of attaching importance to science and technology enforced by the Workers’ Party of Korea” and “also told the scientists and technicians to contribute to the prosperity of the country with great successes in the effort to push back the frontiers of science and technology, always bearing deep in mind the great care to be handed down to posterity. “
A ceremony opening the U’nha Scientists’ Street, a residential area in Pyongyang for research scientists and technicians, was held on 11 September (Wednesday). Attending the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), along with “other senior officials of the party, state and army, officials concerned and service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, and officials and builders and those scientists and technicians who are to live in the new flats.” Mun Kyong Dok, Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Committee, and Pak Pong Ju spoke at the ceremony.
According to KCNA in his speech, Pak “emphasized the need to regard it as main objective of construction to build dwelling houses and rest houses for personnel in the fields of science and education in the future as intended by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and implement the party’s idea of attaching importance to science and technology” and “called upon the officials and workers in charge of the management and the operation of those apartment houses, public buildings and welfare service facilities in the street to manage and operate all buildings and facilities in a responsible manner by embodying Kim Jong Il’s (Kim Cho’ng-il) patriotism to make sure that the party’s love for people reaches the scientists and technicians before anyone else.” Pak also “called upon those scientists and technicians to achieve more fresh successes in their scientific researches to repay with more latest scientific successes the love and trust of Kim Jong Un, who provided modern dwelling houses and highly civilized and happy living conditions to them.”
After the speeches, Pak Pong Ju cut a ceremonial red ribbon and ceremony participants toured the U’nha Scientists’ Street.
Yonhap noted that among the members of the DPRK central leadership attending the ceremony was Choe Chun Sik, President of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences. Choe toured the scientists’ residential area with Kim Jong Un the previous day, and had last been prominently seen attending various celebratory and commemorative events following the DPRK’s launch of the U’nha-3 in December 2012. At the opening ceremony, Choe was seen attired in a KPA dress uniform with the rank of Lt. General (sangjang) on the shoulder boards. Also attending the ceremony was KWP Secretary Pak To Chun, a key leading manager of the DPRK weapons industry and Choe Chun Sik’s nominal boss.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.