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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 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).

Pyon In Son Head of Operations Bureau?

16 Sep
KPA Colonel General (L) attending to Kim Jong Un at the 9 September 2013 WPRG parade and Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (R) (Photos:  KCTV screengrab, KCNA).

KPA Colonel General (L) attending to Kim Jong Un at the 9 September 2013 WPRG parade and Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrab, KCNA).

Has Col. Gen. Pyon In Son been appointed director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA]  General Staff Operations Bureau [GSOB] ?

Film footage of the military parade and demonstration on the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation on 9 September 2013 shows a KPA officer who resembles Col. Gen. Pyon briefing Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) during the Worker-Peasant Red Guards’ parade.  Since the Kim Jong Il era, one of the Operations Bureau director’s ceremonial functions is to brief the KPA Supreme Commander during a military or reserve unit parade, or military exercise.  If Col. Gen. Pyon was briefing Kim Jong Un during the WPRG parade then he has replaced previous GSOB director Ri Yong Gil.  Ri was recently promoted to four-star general and appointed Chief of the KPA General Staff, replacing Gen. Kim Kyok Sik.

KPA Colonel General (top) attending to Kim Jong Un at the 9 September 2013 WPRG parade and Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (bottom) (Photos:  KCTV screengrab, Xinhua, KCNA-Yonhap).

KPA Colonel General (top) attending to Kim Jong Un at the 9 September 2013 WPRG parade and Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (bottom) (Photos: KCTV screengrab, Xinhua, KCNA-Yonhap).

Directors of the General Staff Operations Bureau at previous military parades. 1. General Kim Myong Guk in Octoner 2010; 2. Gen Choe Pu il In April 2012; 3. Gen. Ri Yong Gil in July 2013 (Photos: CCTV, KCTV screengrabs).

Directors of the General Staff Operations Bureau at previous military parades. 1. General Kim Myong Guk in Octoner 2010; 2. Gen Choe Pu il In April 2012; 3. Gen. Ri Yong Gil in July 2013 (Photos: CCTV, KCTV screengrabs).

The KPA General Staff (Photo: NK Leadership Watch).

The KPA General Staff (Photo: NK Leadership Watch).

The directorate of the  GSOB is one of the most powerful positions in the DPRK’s national security community.  The GSOB is responsible for the daily operational management and administration of the KPA’s conventional forces.  It interfaces with all KPA corps-level units to implement DPRK military planning, strategy and operations plans, as well as assessing combat readiness.  It also formulates and implements military training for all KPA conventional units, the Pyongyang Defense Command and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces.  During a war or national crisis, command and control over KPA forces passes from the core leadership directly to the Operations Bureau.

Pyon In Son’s last reported position, as of July 2013, was  Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces,.  From August 2011 until April 2013, Col. Gen. Pyon served as commanding officer of the IV Army Corps.  From about 2007 to 2011 he served as Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.  He led a KPA delegation on an official visit to China in October 2010.  Prior to his appointment at the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, Pyon was commanding officer of the VII Army Corps in South Hamgyo’ng Province.  Col. Gen. Pyon has patronage links to VMar Kim Yong Chun, Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission and current Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Civil Defense Department.

If Pyon has been appointed director of the GSOB then it indicates that Kim Jong Un applies a similar criteria in selecting the GSOB chief as his father, having selected someone with a career both in military administration (such as at MPAF or the General Staff) and field command experience and holding the rank of Colonel General.  Being former commander of the IV Army Corps, Pyon’s possible appointment to the GSOB would also mean another new member of the KPA’s high command whose immediate past field experience was at one of the four frontline (1st echelon) corps units.  These are the KPA ground force units stationed in areas along the inter-Korean border, the Military Demarcation Line and the North Limit Line.   Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam (appointed in May 2013) commanded the I Army Corps and Ri Yong Gil (appointed Chief of the General Staff in August 2013 and GSOB director in February 2012) commanded the V Army Corps.

Kim Jong Un Commands Maneuvers of KPA Warship and Publishes Lecture On So’ngun Revolution

25 Aug
Kim Jong Un (3rd L) issues instructions during a field inspection of a newly commissioned KPA Navy warship (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un (3rd L) issues instructions during a field inspection of a newly commissioned KPA Navy warship (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 24 August (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) commanded the maneuvers of a recently commissioned Korean People’s Army [KPA] warship.  He was accompanied by Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director Yun Tong Hyon, KPA Supreme Command staff member Lt. Gen. Pak Jong Chon, KPA Navy Commander Vice Admiral Kim Myong Sik, KPA Air and anti-Air Commander Gen. Ri Pyong Chol, KWP Organization Guidance Department Deputy Director Hwang Pyong So and KWP Deputy Department Directors Hong Yong Chil and Kim Pyong Ho.  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the KPA Science and Technology Exhibition Hall.

Kim Jong Un toured the new warship and was briefed about its combat equipment, its speed and displacement.  According to KCNA he “highly praised the KPA and relevant field for successfully building the vessel by their own efforts on the basis of latest military science and technology” and said that “the vessel is one of the warships in the 21st century as it is able to automatically control all the combat activities including navigation and firing and simultaneously strike different targets.”  Kim Jong Un then commanded the warship’s maneuvers and “was greatly satisfied to see the high maneuverability and striking capability of the warship.”  According to KCNA he underscored ” the need to make many multi-functional, well-equipped warships and steadily improve the combat capability of the navy” and “set forth important tasks to further strengthen the navy as required by the modern war in the 21st century.”

An image of current DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (L) and his father late leader Kim Jong Il (R) inspected Kaeso'n Fun Fair in central Pyongyang in December 2011.  The image appeared in DPRK state media on 25 August 2013, 53rd anniversary of the beginning of So'ngun (military-first) Revolutionary Leadership (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

An image of current DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (L) and his father late leader Kim Jong Il (R) inspected Kaeso’n Fun Fair in central Pyongyang in December 2011. The image appeared in DPRK state media on 25 August 2013, 53rd anniversary of the beginning of So’ngun (military-first) Revolutionary Leadership (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

On 25 August (Sunday) Kim Jong Un published a lecture in the KWP daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun and in the KPA’s newspaper Joson Inmingun.

“Let Us Add Eternal Brilliance to Comrade Kim Jong Il’s Great Idea and Achievement of the Military-First (So’ngun) Revoluton”

by Kim Jong Un, 25 August 2013

With deep respect for the great Comrade Kim Jong Il and firm confidence in the victory of the revolution, our service personnel and people greet the 53rd anniversary of the start of his leadership of the So’ngun revolution.

The Day of So’ngun, when General Kim Jong Il started his leadership of the So’ngun revolution, is, together with the day of the founding of the KPA (Korean People’s Army), a historic day when an important milestone was set up for the history of building up our revolutionary armed forces and the history of our country. As there was this significant day, a historic turn could be brought about in developing our revolutionary armed forces and implementing the cause of the Juche revolution, and the history and traditions of our sacred So’ngun revolution that had been pioneered and developed by force of arms, achieving victory, could be carried forward continuously.

So’ngun is a proud tradition of the Korean revolution which was pioneered by Comrade Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and led by him and Comrade Kim Jong Il and the banner of victory and glory.

The great Generalissimos blazed the trail of the So’ngun revolution for the first time in history, thus creating a new history of So’ngun and ushering in the era of So’ngun.

Having clarified in his early days the truth of the revolutionary struggle that one can emerge victorious against an armed enemy only when one fights him with arms and advanced the idea and line of attaching importance to arms, to military affairs, the great Comrade Kim Il Sung regarded building armed forces as a fundamental problem in the revolution, directed primary efforts to organizing and developing the armed ranks and achieved the historic cause of national liberation with the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army as the main force.

By relying on the arms of the revolution, he wisely led two revolutionary wars, two stages of social revolution and socialist construction, and thus built on this land socialism of our style centred on the masses of the people and demonstrated the dignity and honour of the country.

Comrade Kim Jong Il, who was faithful to Comrade Kim Il Sung’s ideas and cause, led our revolution along the glorious road of victory, braving the severe trials and adversities of history by dint of his unique leadership of the So’ngun revolution.

His visit to Seoul Ryu Kyong Su (Yu Kyo’ng-su) Guards 105th Tank Division of the KPA on August 25, 1960 was a historic event that proclaimed his succession of the cause of the So’ngun revolution and the start of his So’ngun-based leadership.

Songun was the General’s revolutionary idea, his practice in the revolution, his political ideal and his political mode.

During the long period spanning more than half a century from the day when he started his leadership of the So’ngun revolution, the great General visited one KPA unit after another, strengthening the army to be an invincible revolutionary army, and victoriously led the revolution and construction by force of So’ngun.

Regarding the strengthening of the KPA as the most important of affairs in the So’ngun revolution, he raised the KPA as the buttress, the main force, of our revolution and achieved the historic victory in the grim anti-imperialist, anti-US showdown in defence of the country’s security and socialism by training the KPA to be the army of the leader boundlessly faithful to the cause of the WPK (Workers’ Party of Korea; KWP), to be an invincible revolutionary army. He defined the spirit of defending the leader unto death, the spirit of implementing his instructions at any cost and the self-sacrificing spirit displayed by the service personnel as a revolutionary spirit symbolic and representative of the So’ngun era, as the revolutionary soldier spirit, and led all the service personnel and people to live and struggle in that spirit, thus ensuring that a great turn and changes were brought about in all sectors of the revolution and construction.

In order to consolidate the successes of his So’ngun-based leadership and administer Songun politics in a comprehensive way, he saw to it that the First Session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly [held on 5 September 1998] of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea adopted the Socialist Constitution that embodies the idea and principles of the So’ngun revolution and established a new state administration structure, whose backbone is the National Defence Commission, and led all state affairs to be conducted on the principle of giving precedence to military affairs.

The history of his leadership of the So’ngun revolution is an unprecedented history of thoroughgoing anti-imperialist independence, a history of infinite patriotic devotion; it is also a history of ennobling trust and affection, filled with absolute trust in and maternal affection for the service personnel and people.

As there was the General’s leadership of the So’ngun revolution, our revolution could win victory after victory surmounting all manner of vicissitudes of history; as there was the General’s super-intense forced march of patriotic devotion, our service personnel and people could work historic miracles unknown to mankind.

So’ngun was, indeed, our General’s immutable revolutionary creed, which he cherished and applied all his life, and a great revolutionary practice, during which he adorned the history of the country with brilliant victories and imperishable achievements.

In the course of leading the unprecedented So’ngun revolution, the General formulated and developed the idea of the So’ngun revolution, and thus created a guiding principle and ever-victorious banner our people and the revolutionary peoples of the world should adhere to in accomplishing the cause of independence.

The idea of the So’ngun revolution is an idea of giving importance and precedence to military affairs in implementing the masses’ cause of independence, the socialist cause, and pushing ahead with the overall revolution and construction with the revolutionary army as the core force.

With its starting point being the Chuch’e-based revolutionary principle that the victory of the revolutionary cause is decided by arms of the revolution, the idea gives scientific and practical answers to the key questions arising in winning victory in the revolution.

It clarifies the revolutionary theory on building up the arms of the revolution, the revolutionary army, strengthening the driving force of the revolution with the revolutionary army as the core and, by relying on it, advancing the revolution and construction victoriously.

Its most important requirement is that the army should be developed into the army of the Party and the leader, into an invincible revolutionary army capable of defeating any formidable enemy, with importance being attached to military affairs and primary efforts directed to building up the army.

In order for the masses to carve out their destiny and accomplish the cause of socialism amid sharp confrontation with the imperialists and constant danger of war, they must, before anything else, firmly hold up and strengthen the arms of the revolution. It is a serious lesson taught by the history of the world socialist movement that when the arms of the revolution are weak or waver, they can defend neither the destiny of the masses nor socialism.

That one must consolidate the driving force of the revolution with the revolutionary army as the main force and propel the revolutionary struggle and construction work by relying on its leading role is a new revolutionary theory elucidated by the So’ngun idea.

The revolution is a do-or-die struggle of deciding who prevails over whom between the revolutionary forces and the counterrevolutionary forces, so the destiny of the revolution depends on how the driving force of the revolution is strengthened and how its role is enhanced.

Among the social groups that form the revolutionary forces in a socialist society, whose masters are the masses, the group that is the strongest in the revolutionary sense, organized aspect, discipline and fighting capabilities is the revolutionary army under the guidance of the leader. The revolutionary army, for its revolutionary idea, great spiritual strength and revolutionary temperament, is capable of leading the overall society and propelling the revolutionary struggle and construction work. If the revolutionary army stands in the van and all the people struggle with the revolutionary spirit and temperament of the army by forming an integrated whole with the service personnel, their power is incomparably great.

By the idea of the So’ngun revolution, a new road, a road to victory, was opened for successfully advancing the masses’ cause of independence, the socialist cause, by consolidating the driving force of the revolution and enhancing its role.

The General’s idea of the So’ngun revolution throws a fresh light on the political theory that So’ngun politics is the most powerful mode of politics and the basic mode of socialist politics.

Ideas and ideals are translated into practice by politics, which is a factor that decides the destiny of the masses and the rise and fall of a country and nation.

The great General elucidated for the first time in history that socialist politics for fully realizing the independent demands and interests of the masses should be So’ngun politics that gives importance and precedence to military affairs, and formulated So’ngun politics as the basic mode of socialist politics.

As he said, So’ngun politics is a mode of socialist politics that raises military affairs as the most important of all state affairs and defends the country, revolution and socialism and accelerates the overall socialist construction with the KPA as the core, as the main force. It is a mode of independent politics that fully embodies the fundamentals and principles of the So’ngun idea.

Formulation of So’ngun politics as the basic mode of socialist politics has brought about a fundamental change in the history of mankind’s politics and the history of socialist politics and presented a treasured sword with which to successfully realize the ideals and principles of socialism.

The General’s So’ngun idea is a revolutionary idea and theory which embodies a thoroughgoing anti-imperialist, independent stand and the spirit of ennobling love of the country, nation and people and which is based on an iron faith and willpower.

So’ngun, a new term in our era, was coined reflecting the unshakeable faith, willpower and great pluck of Comrade Kim Jong Il who, taking full responsibility for the destiny and future of the country and people amid long-drawn-out, sharp confrontation with an imperialist power, solved all problems in our own way and in conformity with the demands and interests of our people and nation. As we have the idea of the So’ngun revolution, a great idea of Comrade Kim Jong Il, we have been able to defend the dignity of the country, independence of the people and gains of socialism with credit and open the way for the prosperity of the country and rosy future of the nation by our own strength, that is, by force of arms.

As an idea enriched and developed in the course of the practical struggle to apply the Chuch’e idea, the So’ngun idea is a scientific revolutionary theory which makes it possible to satisfy the requirements of the Chuch’e idea in a perfect and comprehensive way.

The formulation and development of the idea and theory of the So’ngun revolution by the great Comrade Kim Jong Il further enriched the ideological and theoretical treasure-house of our revolution and greatly increased the appeal and vitality of the Chuch’e idea.

The Juche idea is the roots of the So’ngun idea and the latter is a brilliant embodiment of the former.

Thanks to the So’ngun idea, the Chuch’e idea could be splendidly applied to the revolutionary practice, shining more brightly as a great guiding ideology which guarantees the victorious advance and accomplishment of the masses’ cause of independence.

The General performed undying exploits for the country and revolution, for the times and history with his outstanding leadership of the So’ngun revolution.

He safeguarded with honour the Chuch’e-oriented socialism, which Comrade Kim Il Sung established, and assured the solid continuity of the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e, the revolutionary cause of Songun, by dint of his leadership of the So’ngun revolution.

The Chuch’e-oriented socialism is a precious gain of our revolution Comrade Kim Il Sung achieved devoting his life, and it is our people’s lifeblood and the cradle of their true life and happiness. The 90s of the last century, when the reckless anti-DPRK moves of the allied forces of the US and other imperialists to check the victorious advance of our revolution and stamp out our socialism went to extremes, was a period of the severest ordeals for our revolution. When our army and people were at the crossroads whether they would remain an independent people and guards to become victors or be reduced to the imperialists’ colonial slaves again, Comrade Kim Jong Il determinedly held up the banner of So’ngun, and defended the Chuch’e-oriented socialism with honour and achieved brilliant victories. This was a miracle of history which only our General could bring about.

By dint of his leadership of the So’ngun revolution he laid a firm foundation for the prosperity of the country and the accomplishment of the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e and provided a sure guarantee for victory.

The most important guarantee for victory in the revolution is to strengthen the party, the General Staff of the revolution, and solidify the driving force of the revolution by uniting the service personnel and people around it.

A fundamental principle which the great General consistently adhered to in the building of our Party was to build it into the party of the leader. He defined imbuing the entire Party with Kimilsungism as the ultimate objective of its building and wisely led the effort for firmly establishing a monolithic ideological system and a monolithic leadership system across the Party. As a result, our Party could be developed into a revolutionary party which is unfailingly faithful to the ideology and guidance of its leader and possessed of a strong sense of organization and discipline and into an ever-victorious party with solid mass and military bases, and could discharge its mission and role as the guiding force in implementing the cause of the So’ngun revolution. The General held up single-hearted unity as the greatest foundation of the revolution and perfectly realized the single-hearted unity of the Party, army and people centred on the leader, thus strengthening the driving force of the So’ngun revolution remarkably.

By strengthening the KPA to be an invincible army and consolidating the military capabilities of the country to the maximum with the KPA as the core, he provided a sure military guarantee for the victory of the cause of the Chuch’e revolution.

Under his energetic guidance, the KPA developed into a vanguard detachment which regards defending the leader unto death as its lifeblood and takes the lead in implementing the orders of its Supreme Commander at all costs, and into a trailblazer in the struggle to accomplish the cause of the So’ngun revolution. A forceful drive was waged to make the defence industry Juche-oriented, modern and informatized, enabling us to produce any sophisticated military equipment as we wish by relying on our own effort and technology. Thanks to the General’s outstanding leadership of the So’ngun revolution, the KPA could be developed into an invincible revolutionary army, ours could become a country which can make and launch artificial satellites and a nuclear state, fully demonstrating its dignity as the powerful Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) nation, and we could reliably defend the dignity of the country and the sovereignty of the nation, frustrating the imperialist moves of aggression and challenges at every step.

The great General laid firm material and technological foundations for the building of a thriving socialist country.

Under his leadership a grand plan for building a prosperous country was unfolded during the days of the Arduous March and forced march, when our revolution was undergoing grim trials, and a hot wind of creating fresh miracles and innovations swept across the country. Fierce flames of the industrial revolution in the new century flared up ushering in the era of the knowledge economy, monumental structures symbolic of the era were built in all parts of the country and model works representative of So’ngun culture were created in large numbers. What our service personnel and people created in the So’ngun era under his guidance constitutes a valuable asset for the prosperity of Kim Il Sung’s nation and Kim Jong Il’s Korea.

The great General effected a fresh turn in the struggle for the independent reunification of the country and firmly defended global peace and security on the strength of his leadership of the So’ngun revolution. He ushered in the June 15 era of reunification by our nation itself, provided a precious asset for the reunification of the country and the common prosperity of the nation and safeguarded peace in Asia and the rest of the world by smashing the imperialists’ uninterrupted schemes to unleash a war.

The great exploits Comrade Kim Jong Il performed for the country and revolution, for the times and history for more than half a century by dint of his tireless leadership of the So’ngun revolution will shine for ever along with the triumphant advance of our revolutionary cause.

We should faithfully carry forward his great idea and achievements of the So’ngun revolution and add eternal brilliance to them.

The idea of the So’ngun revolution is a great guideline of our revolution and his So’ngun-based leadership exploits are a motive force for victory.

It is the unshakeable faith and unbreakable will of our Party, army and people to carry forward and accomplish the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e, invariably holding aloft the banner of So’ngun.

We should follow to the end the road of So’ngun, the road of independence and the road of socialism that the great General traversed throughout his life, translate his instructions into brilliant realities and accomplish the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e, the revolutionary cause of So’ngun, with credit.

All officials, Party members and other working people should firmly arm themselves with the General’s idea of the So’ngun revolution, deeply study his great So’ngun leadership achievements and thoroughly apply and add lustre to them in the revolutionary struggle and construction work.

The line of giving importance to arms, to military affairs, should be implemented to the letter for the strengthening of the defence capabilities of the country to be steel-strong.

The KPA should be prepared more firmly into an army strong in ideology and faith, a powerful Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) revolutionary army.

Leadership of the Party is the lifeline of the KPA, and its might is inconceivable separated from the leadership of the Party. The general direction ahead of the KPA is one, that is, to advance straight forward with guns levelled in the very direction our Party indicates. Our arms must serve as an ever-lasting cornerstone that ensures a sure guarantee for the Party and its cause.

The officers and men of the KPA should burn their hearts with a single idea, a single determination, to support only the Party and the leader and safeguard them unto death, whatever ordeals may crop up and however the situation may change. They should equip themselves firmly with the revolutionary ideas of our Party and cherish a steadfast faith that they will defend to the end the red flag of the revolution, the Chuch’e flag of the Party, at the cost of their lives.

They should make their training more intensive, as the anti-Japanese guerrillas did on Mt. Paektu, so as to prepare themselves into a-match-for-a-hundred combatants possessed of Kim Il Sung’s and Kim Jong Il’s military strategy and tactics, heroic combat spirit and actual war capability, establish rigid discipline in their units and assume the perfect appearance of a regular army.

Military posts and barracks should be laid out as if they were the service personnel’s native houses, and satisfactory material and cultural living conditions provided so that they can lead a good service life.

While discharging their basic duty of defending the country, the service personnel should make breakthroughs in several sectors and major projects of socialist construction, and never feel contented in doing things for the people but always take the lead in this regard.

A great effort should be channeled into developing the defence industry. The sector of the defence industry should concentrate its efforts on making a bigger stride in building our country into an invincible military power, and thus produce more and better-quality military hardware of our own style that are precise, light, unmanned and intelligent.

The Worker-Peasant Red Guards should enhance their combat capabilities through intensive combat and political training and reliably defend their respective provinces, counties and villages in time of emergency.

All the sectors of socialist construction should bring about a great leap forward and great innovations.

We should radically improve the people’s standard of living by giving a spur to the building of an economic giant, holding aloft our Party’s line of simultaneously promoting the two fronts (economic development and the upbuilding of nuclear forces).

We should make innovations in the sectors of agriculture and light industry, major thrust areas in building an economic giant, and promote construction of dwelling houses, so as to ensure that the people lead an affluent and happy life.

We should concentrate our efforts on the priority sectors of the national economy, the basic industry sectors, to ensure that the existing self-supporting foundations pay off, and vigorously push ahead with the effort for modernizing them and normalizing their production. We should direct a strenuous effort to the electric-power and coal-mining industries in particular, and develop all sectors of the national economy with metallurgical and chemical industries as twin pillars.

By rapidly developing science and technology and educating all the people to be well versed in science and technology, we should raise the level of putting the national economy on a modern and CNC (computer numerical control)  basis and perfect the economic structure of the country in keeping with the requirements of the era of the knowledge economy.

We should accelerate the construction of a cultured socialist nation. It is important to make all the members of society become artists and enjoyers of socialist culture and bring about a fresh turn in all the sectors of cultural construction. By doing so, we should translate into reality the people’s desire for a wholesome and cultured way of life.

In order to bring about a decisive turn in the construction of a thriving socialist country, the militant functions and role of Party organizations should be further heightened.

Party organizations are the vanguard organizations of the So’ngun revolution, and the Party’s ideology and leadership are implemented through them. They should regard it as the main line of Party work to establish the monolithic leadership system of the Party, and ensure that all officials, Party members and other working people support the leader’s ideas and leadership with loyalty and conduct all types of work in line with the Party’s ideas and intentions.

In the current general offensive, Party organizations should give fullest play to the spiritual strength of officials, Party members and other working people. The mother of miracle is the spiritual strength of the masses, and the key to ushering in a new heyday in the building of a thriving nation is to motivate their hearts.

Party organizations should scrupulously educate officials, Party members and other working people to learn the greatness of the General’s idea and achievements of the So’ngun revolution and exalt their brilliance. They should intensify the frontline-style political work among the masses so that officials, Party members and other working people make it an element of their living to learn from the spirit of the service personnel of defending the leader and carrying out his instructions unto death and their fighting spirit, and make strenuous efforts to create the Masik Pass (Masikryo’ng) speed by displaying Kim Jong Il’s patriotism.

The service personnel and people should propel the grand socialist construction on the strength of joint operation.

Joint operation between them is a powerful struggling mode of the service personnel and people in waging an unyielding offensive with one mind and purpose. The commanding personnel of the KPA and leading civilian officials should scrupulously organize and command the joint operations and enlist their spiritual strength and all means to perform unfailingly and in time the revolutionary tasks assigned to their respective units.

True to the instructions and lofty will of the great Generalissimos, we should make proactive efforts to open a new phase of national reunification, prevent aggression and war and defend global peace and security.

The idea and cause of our So’ngun revolution are invincible.

As the great Chuch’e idea and the So’ngun revolutionary idea illuminate the road ahead of us and there are the wise leadership of the Party, the single-hearted unity of all the service personnel and people and the invincible KPA, the victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche and the revolutionary cause of So’ngun is definite.

As in the past, so in the future, we will achieve only victory for ever, upholding the great banner of So’ngun.

KPA Holds Meeting to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of “Victory” in Korean War

25 Jul

DPRK state media reported on 24 July (Wednesday) that a meeting of Korean People’s Army [KPA] officers and service members took place in the plaza of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF] in Pyongyang to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the victory/armistice which terminated active hostilities of the Fatherland Liberation War (Korean War).  According to KCNA, KPA service members and officers who participated in the meeting “vowed to eternally glorify the undying feats the Generalissimos performed by leading confrontation with imperialism and the U.S. to a victory and reunify the country without fail under the leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).”  Attending the meeting were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Col. Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), along with MPAF officials, officers and service members of the KPA’s three conventional service branches (ground ,naval and air/anti-air), cadets of the DPRK’s military academies and students of the revolutionary schools.

VMar Choe Ryong Hae delivered the meeting’s report in which he said that “the brilliant victory in the Fatherland Liberation War was a victory of the outstanding military idea of Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and his original strategies, tactics and war methods and a victory of the indomitable mental power displayed by the army and people of the DPRK rallied close around him.  The feats Kim Il Sung performed by winning a victory in the war could shed their bright rays century after century thanks to Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), a peerlessly brilliant Military-First (So’ngun) commander.  The history and tradition of victory provided by the Generalissimos are being firmly defended thanks to the outstanding and tested leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n), another greatest-ever commander.”  VMar Choe “called for defending the undying feats the Generalissimos performed in the war and Military-First (So’ngun) revolution and glorifying July 27, the day of war victory, as the day of a victory in national reunification under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.”  After Choe Ryong Hae delivered his report speeches were delivered by Gen. No Kwang Chol (Deputy Chief of the KPA General Staff), VAdm Kim Myong Sik (Commander of the KPA Navy) and Gen. Ri Pyong Chol (Commander of the KPA Air and anti-Air Command) who “vowed to inherit the spirit of matchless offensive displayed by the heroic soldiers in the 1950s to successfully conclude the fight for national reunification, and thus display fireworks of victory in the sky above the powerful Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) nation.”

Parts of Munsu Wading Pool Similar to Kim Family Compound

9 Jul
Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang in May 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang in May 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The construction of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang is part of Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) implemenation of his father’s, late leader Kim Jong Il, “behests” and part of KJI’s practice of indok politics.  In February 2013 Kim Jong Un issued an instruction to the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel to construct the water park.  The MPAF and KPA staged a meeting, led by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, on 7 February 2013 at which it was “stressed the need to ensure the quality in construction on the highest level under the motto of taking responsibility for the safety of projects and guaranteeing their absolute quality for all eternity by overcoming difficulties and hardships with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in every work site for the country’s prosperity and the people’s happiness in the past.” The Munsu Wading Pool was listed a major project as part of “face-lifting” Pyongyang during a meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Political Bureau held in February.

During May 2013, Kim Jong Un visited the construction of the water park as part of a tour of construction projects in and around Pyongyang.  DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju also visited the construction in May.  VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department, has visited the water park’s construction twice with the first time being in February after ground was broken on the project, and in late June.  The Munsu Wading Pool project has recently been included as part of the “Masikryo’ng Speed” campaign.

Color poster of the design of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

Color poster of the design of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

An official documentary film chronicling Kim Jong Un’s public activities in May 2013 provided greater detail about the Munsu Wading Pool’s design.  A full-color poster of the design shows that the water park will have several swimming pools, a wave pool, a “lazy river” for inner tubing, an artificial waterfall, a tennis court, beach (sandy) volleyball court and other sports facilities.  While the Munsu Wading Pool’s has a similar layout and design to other water parks elsewhere in the world, there are some areas of the park which will have distinct DPRK characteristics.

An April 2012 satellite image showing the Ryo'ngso'ng, or Su'ngbo'p, Residential Compound in the northern outskirts of Pyongyang.  This is one of the 10 major VIP compounds inhabited by members of the Kim Family, including late leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un and other DPRK elites (Photo: Digital Globe).

An April 2012 satellite image showing the Ryo’ngso’ng, or Su’ngbo’p, Residential Compound in the northern outskirts of Pyongyang. This is one of the 10 major VIP compounds inhabited by members of the Kim Family, including late leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un and other DPRK elites (Photo: Digital Globe).

In planning the Munsu Wading Pool, the architects have borrowed at least one waterslide and several buildings found on the premises of the Kim family’s Ryo’ngso’ng (or Su’ngbo’p) residential compound in the Ryo’ngso’ng District in northern Pyongyang.  The Ryo’ngso’ng compound is approximately 12.8 km (7.9 miles) north of central Pyongyang within the northern boundaries of the DPRK capital’s Inland Empire**.  The compound includes one of Kim Jong Il’s private railway stations (including carriage repair and maintenance facilities), a C2 facility, a C4ISR UGF (call it a DPRK leadership panic room), a horse racing track, bridleways, a rifle range,  numerous guest houses and private residences for DPRK elites and several large, luxurious homes inhabited by members of the Kim family.

A water slide in the design for the Munsu Wading Pool (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

A water slide in the design for the Munsu Wading Pool (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

A water slide at the outdoor swimming pool at the Ryo'ngso'ng residential compound which may have been used in the design of the Munsu Wading Pool.  As of 2012 the outdoor swimming pool and water slide have been removed (Photo: Digital Globe).

A water slide at the outdoor swimming pool at the Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound which may have been used in the design of the Munsu Wading Pool. As of 2012 the outdoor swimming pool and water slide have been removed (Photo: Digital Globe).

DPRK architects modeled one of the waterslides planned for Munsu Wading Pool on a tube slide found at the outdoor pool of the Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound.  The Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound has undergone several renovations since Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011.  Satellite imagery showed that construction work was under way in April 2012, with a crew expanding one of the large houses, demolishing part of a residence for Personal Secretariat staff and a convoy of dump trucks hauling materials and debris from the compound.  Satellite images taken later in 2012 (and available through several online mapping resources such as Google Maps/Earth) showed that one house used by Kim Jong Il had been completely demolished.  Interestingly, the 2012 renovation of the Ryo’ngso’ng compound included the removal of the tube waterslide and the outdoor swimming pool.  This raises the possibility that the water slide was disassembled and repurposed for the Munsu Wading Pool or another amusement park or alpamare in Pyongyang.

Twin pyramids which are part of the design for the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

Twin pyramids which are part of the design for the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

An April 2012 satellite image of twin pyramids at the Ryo'ngso'ng residential compound in northern Pyongyang which may have inspired the pyramids planned for the Munsu Wading Pool.  According to some accounts these pyramids are spa and sauna facilities for members of the Kim family and other DPRK elites who reside on the compound (Photo: Digital Globe).

An April 2012 satellite image of twin pyramids at the Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound in northern Pyongyang which may have inspired the pyramids planned for the Munsu Wading Pool. According to some accounts these pyramids are spa and sauna facilities for members of the Kim family and other DPRK elites who reside on the compound (Photo: Digital Globe).

The Munsu Wading Pool’s design also envisions two pyramid-shaped structures located along the water park’s southern perimeter.  The two pyramid-shaped structures at Munsu, topped by two silver square structures, are a smaller, less grand versions of two pyramids at the Ryo’ngso’ng compound.  According to several accounts from people who visited or worked at the Ryo’ngso’ng compound, the two pyramids house bathing, spa and sauna facilities.  It is possible that the twin pyramids in the Munsu park’s design will serve a similar purpose.

A planned structure planned on the southern perimeter of the Munsu Wading Pool.  A structure with a similar design is planned to abut this building and can be seen in the bottom right of the design's poster (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

A planned structure planned on the southern perimeter of the Munsu Wading Pool. A structure with a similar design is planned to abut this building and can be seen in the bottom right of the design’s poster (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab).

An April 2012 satellite image showing the main banquet hall and entertainment center at the Ryo'ngso'ng residential compound.  The design for this building appears to have been modified and applied to the service and amenities buildings planned for construction on the southern perimeter of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: Digital Globe).

An April 2012 satellite image showing the main banquet hall and entertainment center at the Ryo’ngso’ng residential compound. The design for this building appears to have been modified and applied to the service and amenities buildings planned for construction on the southern perimeter of the Munsu Wading Pool in Pyongyang (Photo: Digital Globe).

South and east of the twin pyramids at Munsu Wading Pool, the architects have planned several rectangular and circular structures.  These buildings might include patios, restaurants or snack bars, locker rooms (dressing rooms), indoor recreation facilities and the water park’s administrative and technical offices.  These buildings lining the water park’s southern perimeter have a highly similar design and are an expansion of the Ryo’ngso’ng compound’s main banquet hall and entertainment facilities.

There are a few implications (take aways, if you like) to the core leadership approving a design based on one of the Kim Family’s “special pavilions.”  It fits an overall pattern, which began when Kim Jong Il was still alive in which food factories, shops and other aspects of the county’s so-called court economy are either publicized or DPRK citizens (a relative term when applied to Pyongyangites) are given access to them.  It is highly likely that the designs for the Munsu Wading Pool came from a branch of the Paektusan Academy of Architecture.

**The Pyongyang Inland Empire is a term I coined in a conversation with a close colleague when discussing Kim Jong Un’s tendency to remain primarily in Pyongyang during most of 2012 and part of 2013.  It refers to sections of Pyongyang running from the northern outskirts of the city (south of the Pyongyang Airport) south to the area around Ku’msusan Palace then through the city centre (KIS Square, central party complex) and west into the Mangyo’ngdae District with parts of it sitting east on either side of the Taedong River in Samso’k District and the Taedonggang District.  It includes a series of private roads, the country’s “secret subway” and includes a network of underground residential facilities (the Suryo’ng bunkers) which Kim Jong Il used from time to time.  In addition to underground facilities and special roads, the Pyongyang Inland Empire is highly secure and protects the country’s leader (and other elites) behind four dedicated layers of security personnel (Guard Command –> Ministry of People’s Security –> Pyongyang Defense Command –> III Army Corps).

KPA Meeting Begins “Masikryong” Speed Campaign

5 Jun
Meeting of KPA personnel at Masik Pass ski park in Kangwo'n Province on 5 June 2013 in support of an economic construction speed campaign proposed by leader Kim Jong Un (Photo: KCNA screengrab)

Meeting of KPA personnel at Masik Pass ski park in Kangwo’n Province on 5 June 2013 in support of an economic construction speed campaign proposed by leader Kim Jong Un (Photo: KCNA screengrab)

DPRK state media reported that Korean People’s Army [KPA] officers and service members assembled at the construction site of the Masik Pas Skiing Grounds in Kangwo’n Province on 5 June (Wednesday) in support of the “Masikryong Speed” a development and construction speed campaign initiated by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).  Attending the rally were VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department, and Col. Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Minister of the People’s Armed forces, along with officials of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and KPA Personnel.

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department, speaks at a meeting in support of the "Masikryong Speed" battle in Kangwo'n Province on 5 June 2013

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department, speaks at a meeting in support of the “Masikryong Speed” battle in Kangwo’n Province on 5 June 2013

Senior officials attend and speak at a KPA meeting in support of the "Masikryong Speed" battle for economic construction on 5 June 2013, including Minister of the People's Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam (middle image) (Photos: KCNA screengrabs)

Senior officials attend and speak at a KPA meeting in support of the “Masikryong Speed” battle for economic construction on 5 June 2013, including Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Jang Jong Nam (middle image) (Photos: KCNA screengrabs)

Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Jong Nam and KPA construction personnel spoke at the meeting.  According to KCNA, the meeting speakers said “the appeal serves as inspiring banner instilling redoubled energy and courage into the service personnel.  In response to the historic appeal the service personnel will creditably fulfill their responsibility and role they have assumed before the era and history in the on-going sacred struggle to live up to the Supreme Commander’s trust and expectation” and that they “will wind up the construction of the skiing ground in the shortest possible span of time as the first-line unit in creating the “Masikryong Speed” with the same vim and vigor with which they created the Hu’ich’o’n speed. They will fully prove once again before the whole world that the resolution of the Supreme Commander precisely means practice.”

KPA officers and servicemembers attend a 5 June 2013 meeting in Kangwo'n Province in support of the "Masikryong Speed" battle initiated by DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (Photos: KCNA screengrabs).

KPA officers and servicemembers attend a 5 June 2013 meeting in Kangwo’n Province in support of the “Masikryong Speed” battle initiated by DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (Photos: KCNA screengrabs).

On 5 June DPRK state media reported that Kim Jong Un issues an “urgent appeal” under the title “Let Us Create the ‘Masikryong Speed’ and Usher in New Heyday on All Fronts for Socialist Construction.”  While Kim Jong Un’s appeal focused on completing construction of the Masik Pass Skiing Grounds before the end of 2013, the “Masikryong Speed” is model for economic construction throughout the DPRK, a byproduct of the simultaneous line “pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force” adopted at the March 2013 meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee.  Speed campaigns and economic battles and publicity campaigns focused on model workers or model complexes.  Modeled on the “Ch’o’llima Speed” in post-Korean War construction, the most recent speed campaign was “Hu’ich’o’n Speed” (2009) which referred to the construction of the  Hu’ich’o’n Power Station and recent model complex/worker campaigns have been “Chuch’e Steel” (2009-2010) and the “torch of Hamnam (South Hamgyo’ng Province)” (2011-present).  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un’s appeal, in part said:

Kim Jong Un said the construction of the Masik Pass Skiing Ground is a gigantic patriotic work initiated by the Workers’ Party of Korea to provide the people with better cultural conditions by translating into reality President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il’s noble idea of loving the people.

The soldier-builders have achieved remarkable successes by cutting off natural rocks and steep mountain ranges and building skiing courses covering hundreds of thousands of square meters with more than a hundred thousand meters in a total length in a matter of less than one year since they had a ground-breaking ceremony, he said, and continued:

The construction of the skiing ground is such a huge project that it is hard for others to complete the project even in ten years. But the WPK remains unchanged in its resolution to build a world-class skiing ground within this year and provide the people and school youth and children with a highly civilized and happy living conditions to enable them enjoy all blessings.

He expressed belief that the soldier-builders would wind up the construction of the skiing ground within this year by creating the “Masikryong Speed” by dint of indomitable mental power and persevering charge and that all the service personnel and people across the country would bring about a great leap forward and signal innovations on all fronts for socialist construction in that spirit.

The secret to completing the construction of the Masik Pass Skiing Ground ahead of schedule lies in giving fullest play to the mental power of the service personnel, he noted, adding Kim Jong Il’s patriotism is the core of the mental power to be cherished by the soldier-builders.

He underscored the need to dynamically push ahead with the construction of the skiing ground by dint of great army-people unity, the mainstay of the Songun revolution and groundwork of society.

It is the intention and resolution of the WPK to raise a hot-wind of great innovations and upswing throughout the country by letting all people learn from the indomitable fighting spirit and work style being displayed by the soldiers in the construction of the skiing ground, he stressed.

He also underlined the need for the People’s Army to make thorough-going preparations for combat and bring about uninterrupted innovations in all major construction projects and in the work for sprucing up the provinces, cities and counties.

He called on all the people including workers, farmers and intellectuals to further reenergize all the economic sectors of the country and positively contribute to implementing national economy plan by fully implementing the WPK’s line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force.

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