Archive | Ministry of People’s Security engineering units RSS feed for this section

Han Kwang Sang Affirmed as KWP Department Director

25 Sep
Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Un's recent visit to the Ryugyo'ng Dental Hospital (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Un’s recent visit to the Ryugyo’ng Dental Hospital (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media has identified central party finance and accounting cadre Han Kwang Sang as a Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Department Director.  In a 23 September (Monday) report about Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visit to the construction of the Ryugyo’ng Dental Hospital in Pyongyang, Han was identified as “department director of the Central Committee of the WPK [KWP].”  KCNA did not disclose what department Han is directing, but it is highly likely he is serving as head of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department where has served as senior deputy (1st vice) director since 2010.  In late June an unnamed ROK Government source told Yonhap that Han had been appointed department director in May 2012.

The KWP Finance and Accounting Department manages the finances of the party and those of the Kim Family.  It also manages logistics and supplies for departments, offices, sections, etc., in the KWP Central Committee (i.e. the central party) and is responsible for the payroll and the distribution of benefits and perks to central party employees.  Staff of the Finance and Accounting Department also work as domestic, technical and logistical staff at residential compounds for the Kim Family and other DPRK elites, and the department is also responsible for supplying furniture, building materials, appliances and foodstuffs to the DPRK’s VIP compounds.  The Finance and Accounting Department owns a series of hotels, restaurants, factories and shops (both within the country and located abroad) which generate revenues for the party.  The department has taken a leading role in the development, opening and management of new restaurants, shopping centers and factories in and around Pyongyang since 2009.  According to Kyodo News Office #38, which had been subordinate to the Finance and Accounting Department, was consolidated into a larger entity called “the Moranbong Bureau,” under the DPRK Cabinet.  If this report is accurate then Han Kwang Sang had a leading role in the consolidation. The department links directly with the Guard Command and Kim Jong Un’s executive office in the National Defense Commission.  It is unclear what role the department, or Han Kang Sang, has in the rumored establishment of a powerful KWP Department of Economy.

Graphic of key organizations in the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch)

Graphic of key organizations in the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch)

Han’s Call Order in DPRK state media

Between April 2012 and May 2012 the order in which Han Kwang Sang’s name was listed in KCNA reports and called in state radio and television broadcasts appeared with other central party department directors and was listed or called ahead of senior deputy and deputy directors.  At Kim Jong Un’s field inspection of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit # 655 in April 2012 Han Kwang Sang was listed between Kim Kyong Ok (Senor Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department) and Ri Jae Il (Senor Deputy Director of the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department).  When Han next appeared in state media at Kim Jong Un’s May 2012 visit to the Central Zoo, he was listed after Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department) and ahead of Ri Jae Il.  In August 2012, in a news item on Kim Jong Un’s visit to Haemaji Restaurant, Han Kwang Sang was listed after Han Kwang Bok (Director of the KWP Science and Education Department) and before Kim Kyong Ok.  At a visit later the same day, Han was listed between Paek Se Pong, Chairman of the Second Economy Commission [Second Economic Committee] which is equivalent to KWP Department Director, and Han Kwang Bok.

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.

Ceremony Opens U’nha Scientists’ Street in Pyongyang

12 Sep
DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju delivers a speech at a ceremony opening the U'nha Scientists' Street residential area in Pyongyang on 11 September 2013.  Also seen in attendance are Minister of the People's Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (2nd R) and Director of the KPA General Political Department VMar Choe Ryong Hae (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju delivers a speech at a ceremony opening the U’nha Scientists’ Street residential area in Pyongyang on 11 September 2013. Also seen in attendance are Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (2nd R) and Director of the KPA General Political Department VMar Choe Ryong Hae (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

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.”

Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee Mun Kyong Dok C) speaks during the ceremony opening the U'nha Scientists' Street.  Also seen in attendance are Minister of People's Security Choe Pu Il (L) and President of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences Choe Chun Sik (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee Mun Kyong Dok C) speaks during the ceremony opening the U’nha Scientists’ Street. Also seen in attendance are Minister of People’s Security Choe Pu Il (L) and President of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences Choe Chun Sik (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

KPISF and KPA construction personnel, along with new residents, attend the U'nha Scientists' Street grand opening in Pyongyang on 11 September 2013 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

KPISF and KPA construction personnel, along with new residents, attend the U’nha Scientists’ Street grand opening in Pyongyang on 11 September 2013 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Senior officials of the DPRK leadership attend the ceremony including KWP Secretaries Kim Ki Nam (4th R), Choe Tae Bok (3rd R), Pak To Chun 2nd R) and SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Senior officials of the DPRK leadership attend the ceremony including KWP Secretaries Kim Ki Nam (4th R), Choe Tae Bok (3rd R), Pak To Chun 2nd R) and SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Pak Pong Ju cuts a ceremonial tape opening the U'nha Scientists Stree in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Pak Pong Ju cuts a ceremonial tape opening the U’nha Scientists Stree in Pyongyang (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

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.

Choe Chun Sik (annotated), President of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences, visits the scientists street with Kim Jong Un (L) and attends the opening ceremony (Photos: Rodong Sinmun, KCTV screengrab).

Choe Chun Sik (annotated), President of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences, visits the scientists street with Kim Jong Un (L) and attends the opening ceremony (Photos: Rodong Sinmun, KCTV screengrab).

Pak Pong Ju, VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Pak To Chun and Kim Ki Nam tour an apartment in the U'nha Scientists' Street in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Pak Pong Ju, VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Pak To Chun and Kim Ki Nam tour an apartment in the U’nha Scientists’ Street in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

 

Mun Kyong Dok, Kim Ki Nam, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Yang Hyong Sop and Pak Pong Ju tour a classroom in the U'nha Scientists Street in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Mun Kyong Dok, Kim Ki Nam, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Yang Hyong Sop and Pak Pong Ju tour a classroom in the U’nha Scientists Street in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs).

Minister of People’s Security Meets with Mongolian President

28 Aug
Minister of People's Security Gen. Choe Pu Il (L) shakes hands with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (R) in Ulan Bator on 28 August 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Mongolia).

Minister of People’s Security Gen. Choe Pu Il (L) shakes hands with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (R) in Ulan Bator on 28 August 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Mongolia).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (background C) and Mongolian government officials (R) meet with Minister of People's Security Gen. Choe Pu Il and a DPRK delegation (L) in Ulan Bator on 28 August 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Mongolia).

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj (background C) and Mongolian government officials (R) meet with Minister of People’s Security Gen. Choe Pu Il and a DPRK delegation (L) in Ulan Bator on 28 August 2013 (Photo: Office of the President of Mongolia).

Minister of People’s Security Gen. Choe Pu Il met with Mongolia’s President Taskhigiin Elbegdorj in Ulan Bator (Ulaanbaatar) on 28 August (Wednesday).  According to the Mongolian President’s Office, Elbegdorj “expressed his satisfaction over the visit of North Korean delegations and conveyed his greetings to the First Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea and the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea Kim Jong-un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n)” and he “emphasized that this year marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations established between Mongolia and DPRK and the 25th anniversary of former leader of DPRK Kim Il-sung’s (Kim Il-so’ng) visit to Mongolia.”  Elbegdorj noted that he had earlier received an invitation to visit the DPRK and said that he “intends to exchange views with Kim Jong-un on the bilateral and regional cooperation.”  Elbegdorj also “underlined an importance of high-level visits and political talks for forwarding the bilateral relations and cooperation” and “emphasized an importance of an upcoming 9th meeting of the intergovernmental commission to be held this September, and said the countries are possible to develop the mutually-beneficial cooperation in trade, tourism, physical culture and sport fields and in exchanging labour force based on their advantages,” according to Mongolia state media.    Choe Pu Il conveyed Kim Jong Un’s greetings to Elbegdorj and said the DPRK and Mongolia have longstanding ties and added “the countries will continue the friendly relations for the people’s happiness.”

President Elbegdorj said that he was satisfied with the cooperation between the Mongolian Ministry of Justice and the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security and he “emphasized an importance of widening the collaboration in trade and economic spheres.”  Elbegdorj told Choe Pu Il  “that Mongolia has put an initiative on holding the Ulaanbaatar Talks on Security of Northeast Asia” and that he hopes “that the visit of the Minister of People’s Security will significantly contribute to strengthening the bilateral friendly relations and developing the collaboration and ties between the legislative bodies and law enforcement authorities.”

DPRK Premier Visits Mushroom Production Sites and Pyongyang Metro

2 Aug
DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (2nd R) inspects products at a mushroom production site managed by the Korean People's Army (Photo: KCNA).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (2nd R) inspects products at a mushroom production site managed by the Korean People’s Army (Photo: KCNA).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (L) inspects a mushroom production facility operated by the Korean People's Army (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (L) inspects a mushroom production facility operated by the Korean People’s Army (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 1 August (Thursday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju toured Pyongyang Metro stations and mushroom growing production sites.  Pak visited Pyongyang Metro stations, described by KCNA as “associated with the undying leadership feats of the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu” where was briefed about the stations’ operations and management.  He held a meeting with the Pyongyang Metro’s managers which “took measures to satisfactorily settle the issues arising in operating Pyongyang Metro.”  Pak also toured undisclosed mushroom production facilities constructed and operated by the Korean People’s Army [KPA].  He toured “production processes including preparation of raw materials, sterilizing, cultivation of fungus and mushroom growing” and was briefed about the mushroom factories’ operations and management.  According to KCNA Pak “called upon all units to learn from the experience gained by the People’s Army in putting the mushroom production on a higher scientific and intensive basis” and he said “for the present, the relative units should standardize the design of mushroom production centers, deepen researches, cultivate lots of mushroom spores and send them to the centers.”

DPRK Premier Visits Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex and Construction Projects in Pyongyang

20 May
DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) examines production at the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) examines production at the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 20 May (Monday) that DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju visited the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex and three construction projects in and around Pyongyang.  Pak’s first visit was to Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex.  It followed up a recent visit Pak made to the Posan Iron Works at the Ch’o’llima Steel Works complex.  During the first expanded meeting of the DPRK Cabinet in mid-April 2013, the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex was instructed to “vigorously wage a struggle to technically round off the heavy rail track production process and to normalize production there and should epochally increase rolled steel production.”  Pak toured the iron and steel complex, described as engaged in “a high-pitched drive to increase iron and steel production true to the new line of the Workers’ Party of Korea on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force.”

Pak Pong Ju  held a meeting with the complex’s managers and employees which “underscored the importance of the complex in making a breakthrough in building an economic power” and “discussed the issues of increasing iron and steel production.”  According to KCNA, Pak “called upon officials and workers of the complex to step up the push to put the production processes on a modern and scientific basis and increase the production capabilities” and “pressed for measures for the Cabinet and relevant units to fully provide raw and other materials necessary for keeping production going at a high rate.”

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) is briefed about the renovation of the Sports Village on Chongchun Street in the Mangyo'ngdae section in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (1) is briefed about the renovation of the Sports Village on Chongchun Street in the Mangyo’ngdae section in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

Pak also visited three construction projects in Pyongyang.  He visited the renovation work at the Mangyo’ngdae Sports Village on Cho’ngchun Street, the construction of the Munsu Wading Pool and the renovation and expansion of the Taedonggang Terrapin Farm Factory where “he reviewed the progress.”  According to KCNA, Pak “stressed the need to ensure the highest quality in the construction and discussed matters arising in the construction.”

KIS and KJU Statues Dedicated at People’s Security Headquarters

14 Apr
Statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the headquarters of the Ministry of People's Security in Pyongyang, after a dedication ceremony held on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the headquarters of the Ministry of People’s Security in Pyongyang, after a dedication ceremony held on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported that on 14 April (Sunday) statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were unveiled and dedicated at the headquarters of the Ministry of People’s Security [MPS].  Among those in attendance were Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] President Kim Yong Nam, DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Security Kim Ki Nam, Minister of State Security Gen. Kim Won Hong along with “officials of party and armed forces organs, officials of the ministry and security workers, service personnel of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces (KPISF), officials and employees of units which rendered devoted services for the building of the statues, helpers and Pyongyangites.”  The statues were unveiled by “senior party and state officials.”

Members of the DPRK central leadership and senior MPS officials attend a dedication ceremony of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at MPS Headquarters in Pyongyang on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Members of the DPRK central leadership and senior MPS officials attend a dedication ceremony of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at MPS Headquarters in Pyongyang on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

An honor guard delivers a floral basket sent by Kim Jong Un to a ceremony dedicating statues of his grandfather, late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, and his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, at the headquarters of the Ministry of People's Security in Pyongyang on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

An honor guard delivers a floral basket sent by Kim Jong Un to a ceremony dedicating statues of his grandfather, late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, and his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, at the headquarters of the Ministry of People’s Security in Pyongyang on 14 April 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

The all-woman brass band of the Korean People's Internal Security Forces play a musical programme during the 14 April 2013 unveiling ceremony.  In the background is the Ponghwa Art Theater.  (Photo: KCNA)

The all-woman brass band of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces play a musical programme during the 14 April 2013 unveiling ceremony. In the background is the Ponghwa Art Theater. (Photo: KCNA)

After the statues were unveiled, a floral basket sent on behalf of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was presented and placed before the statues.  Floral baskets were also presented and placed and before the statues, sent jointly by the KWP Central Committee, SPA Presidium and DPRK Cabinet, and one sent jointly by the Ministry of People’s Security and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces Political Bureau.  Ceremony participants bowed in front of the statues.  In his first significant appearance since being appointed Minister of People’s Security, Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il delivered a dedication speech.  According to KCNA, Col. Gen. Choe said “it is the ardent desire of political defenders of the party to praise the personalities of the peerlessly great men and glorify them for all ages by building their statues.  All the security workers and service personnel of the KPISF built the statues on the highest level with immense loyalty” and Choe “called on them to hold the Generalissimos in high esteem as the eternal sun of Juche with noble revolutionary conscience and sense of moral obligation and defend and glorify their undying revolutionary feats.”

After Choe’s speech, the all-woman brass band and a military band of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces played music, whilst honor guards of the Korean People’s Army’s three conventional service branches, the air and anti-air command and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards marches past the statues.  Following the honor guard presentation, ceremony participants looked at the statues and were briefed about the their construction.

Outlined are the KIS and KJI statues under construction in the plaza of the Ministry of the People's Security headquarters during February 2013 (Photo: Google image)

Outlined are the KIS and KJI statues under construction in the plaza of the Ministry of the People’s Security headquarters during February 2013 (Photo: Google image)

mps_oct11

The Kim Il Sung statue overlooking in front of the Ministry of People’s Security headquarters in an image from October 2011 (Photo: Google image)

Rumors of Dismissed People’s Security Minister Floated in ROK Media

28 Feb
Gen. Ri Myong Su (L), last known Minister of People's Security and Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (R) whom South Korean sources claim  replaced Ri as head of People's Security (Photos: Xinhua file photo and KCTV screengrab)

Gen. Ri Myong Su (L), last known Minister of People’s Security and Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (R) whom South Korean sources claim replaced Ri as head of People’s Security (Photos: Xinhua file photo and KCTV screengrab)

South Korean [ROK] media, citing an interview with an unnamed ROK government official, are circulating rumors that DPRK Minister of People’s Security, Gen. Ri Myong Su (Ri Myo’ng-su) has been removed from office and replaced by Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il, currently serving as Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff.  Gen. Ri was appointed Minister in April 2011 and has held the office for nearly two years. In a 26 February report  Yonhap News Agency quoted the unnamed official who said, “To my knowledge, North Korea recently appointed Choi Bu-il, deputy chief of staff at the North’s military, to the minister of people’s security” and also reported that “the source declined to give further details, including exactly when Cho was named, but the apparent replacement is believed to be linked to a ‘part of loyalty test by Kim Jong-un.'”

JoongAng Ilbo published a similar story on 27 February and reported that “Choe Pu-il, former vice chief of the general staff of the North Korean army, has been appointed to the minister of people’s security, a position similar to a national police commissioner in the South, a high-ranking South Korean official told reporters yesterday at a private meeting.” JoongAng Ilbo also reports that Gen. Ri Myong Su “hasn’t appeared in public since September 2012.”  Yonhap also reported that Gen. Ri “”has not been seen in public for months, raising speculation that he might have been purged.”

Either ROK media or their mystery man in the ROK government, are simply wrong about Gen. Ri’s public appearances.  Ri Myong Su’s last reported public appearance was on 4 January 2013 when he attended a meeting of People’s Security and Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] personnel “to carry out the important tasks” itemized in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day Address.  Prior to that Gen. Ri visited Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun with KJU on New Year’s Day, attended a banquet given for personnel involved in the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket, visited Ku’msusan on 24 December 2012, attended an unveiling ceremony of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues in Hamhu’ng on 20 December 2012 , attended the first central party banquet for the U’nha-3 launch personnel on 21 December 2012 and attended a national memorial service commemorating one year since Kim Jong Il’s demise.  Gen. Ri also attended a national meeting of people’s security officers and a KJU commemorative photo session in late November 2012 and attended Forestry Workers’ national meeting on or around 7 November 2012.  Gen. Ri’s public appearances have been relatively spotty, as Luke Herman wrote in NK News about in October 2012, but he has “appeared in public” well after September 2012 despite current media reporting.

Gen Ri Myong Su (2nd R) attend a forestry workers' meeting on 7 November 2012 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV still)

Gen Ri Myong Su (2nd R) attend a forestry workers’ meeting on 7 November 2012 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV still)

This does not mean Ri Myong Su’s position could not be in jeopardy.  There have been the aforementioned gaps between his public appearances, which could be ascribed either to his political standing or to the Minister having to directly supervise People’s Security’s various missions directly from headquarters.  A lot of the ceremonial aspects of the Minister’s position have been undertaken by the head of the People’s Security/KPSIF Political Bureau, Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam, who presided over a ceremony at which the MPS University was renamed after KJI and two awards ceremonies for KPISF personnel killed on duty.  There have also been rumors in Pyongyang implicating members of Ri Myong Su’s family in malfeasance in their foreign trading corporations.  If Ri was removed from office, it would indicate that Kim Jong Un continues to consolidate his power by making his own personnel appointments, in lieu of keeping Kim Jong Il’s old retainers.  It should also be noted hat Gen. Ri has also held senior positions during the DPRK’s three nuclear test.  In 2006 Ri was serving as Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau.  In 2009, Ri was director of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] Administration Department.  In 2012, Ri was Minister of People’s Security, which, according to some researchers. controls some of the units responsible for major construction and engineering projects at the P’unggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

South Korean official and media sources have also previously provided conflicting information about Ri’s alleged replacement, Choe Pu Il.  Choe has served as Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff since 2009.  However some ROK sources have identified Choe also concurrently serving as Chief of the KPA General Staff Operation Bureau, and other ROK sources have claimed that Choe commanding the IX Army Corps or serving as regional commander of KPA forces in what be termed it Northeast Military District.  This does not preclude Choe from being appointed to People’s Security, and his career history reveals ample criteria for his potential appointment.  And yet, previous information from ROK sources about Choe’s position within the DPRK ‘s national security community has been inconsistent and highly speculative.

Pyongyang watchers also may recall that back in November 2012, VMar Kim Jong Gak was quietly removed from serving as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and replaced by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik.  This led country watchers to speculate as to whether VMar Kim was part of an ongoing purge, or if he was dismissed because of allegations that one of his sons had attempted to defect via China.  Although Gen. Kim Kyok Sik’s appointment as the country’s defense minister was later publicized, it hardly affected Kim Jong Gak’s political standing and he has made a number of public appearances, including at so-called #1 Events with Kim Jong Un.

Previous Ministers of People's Security Paek Hak Rim (L) and Ju Sang Song (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrab and KCNA)

Previous Minister of People’s Security Paek Hak Rim (L) and Ju Sang Son (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrab and KCNA)

There have been numerous occasions in the past in which a senior official is seen at an event close to The Center, or continues to make public appearances, even though they’ve already been marked for dismissal.  Often these have involved the more opaque maneuverings within the Party Central Committee and DPRK Government.  However the Ministry of People’s Security, and particularly the individual serving as Minister, operates (in very relative terms) transparently.  Gen. Ri Myong Su’s three predecessors as Minister were all publicly removed from office and their replacement publicly announced.  In July 2003 the Minister of People’s Security Paek Hak Rim was removed (due both to political reasons and old age) from office by an order of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium.**  His replacement, Choe Ryong Su, was immediately announced.  Choe Ryong Su’s tenure was short-lived.  Barely a year after his appointment Choe was replaced by Gen. Ju Sang Song, then-commander of the IV Army Corps.  Gen. Ju had a lengthy tenure, serving as Minister for nearly seven years.  In March 2011 Gen. Ju was publicly removed from office by an order of the NDC “due to his illness.”  On 7 April 2011, Ju was replaced by Gen. Ri Myong Su through an order of the NDC (to which People’s Security is subordinate) and ratified by the 4th session of the 12th SPA held the same day.

**Until 2009 the Ministry of People’s Security was part of the DPRK Cabinet, and the Minister appointed by the SPA.  After 2009, the MPS was directly subordinate to the National Defense Commission.  Thus, Paek Hak Rim and Choe Ryong Su were removed from office by the SPA Presidium (standing committee).  In 2011 Gen. Ju Sang Song was removed as Minister by the National Defense Commission, and Gen. Ri Myong Su appointed to replace him, however the dismissal and appointment were ratified at the 4th session of the 12th SPA.

Nuclear Test Personnel Visit Ku’msusan and Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery After Arriving in Pyongyang

21 Feb
Personnel who contributed to or participated in the 12 February 2013 nuclear test pay their respects at the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery in Pyongyang on 21 February 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

Personnel who contributed to or participated in the 12 February 2013 nuclear test pay their respects at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang on 21 February 2013 (Photos: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 21 February that personnel involved in the 12 February 2013 nuclear test visited the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun and paid their respects at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on Mt. Taeso’ng in Pyongyang.  According to KCNA “scientists, technicians, workers, soldier-builders and officials who took part in the successful third underground nuclear test visited” Ku’msusan where they paid their respects to the remains of the late DPRK founder and president, Kim Il Sung, and the late supreme leader Kim Jong Il.  After visiting the remains of the two leaders they toured “the halls where the orders the Generalissimos received are on display and the halls which house cars, an electric car, a boat and train coaches used by them for field guidance and foreign tour till the last period of their lives.”

Personnel involved in the DPRK's third nuclear test visit the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery in Pyongyang on 21 February 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Personnel involved in the DPRK’s third nuclear test visit the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang on 21 February 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

The nuclear test personnel also brought floral bouquets and visited the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery.  DPRK state media reported that they placed floral bouquets beneath the bronze memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk, wife of Kim Il Sung and mother of Kim Jong Il and Kim Kyong Hui.  After paying their respects to Kim Jong Suk, according to KCNA, “they also laid a wreath and bouquets on the wreath-laying stand of the cemetery and paid silent tribute to anti-Japanese revolutionary martyrs.”

On 21 February the scientists, technicians, construction workers, KPA service members and others who contributed to the country’s third experimental nuclear detonation received a congratulatory message sent on behalf of the Party Central Military Commission and the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] which “said that the recent nuclear test fully demonstrated the excellent performance of the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK that has been diversified, and the technology of manufacturing nuclear weapons of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea that has reached a cutting-edge level.”  According to KCNA the joint CMC-NDC message also said:

The underground nuclear test conducted by the DPRK in the wake of its successful launch of satellite Kwangmyo’ngsong 3-2 represented a great political and military victory as it made the international community confidently recognize the status of the DPRK as a strategic rocket and nuclear weapons state and brought about a fundamental change in the world political structure and the balance of forces.

People in the field of national defence science carried out the test, exercise of the independent right of the country, thus dealing sledge-hammer blows at the U.S. imperialists, Japanese reactionaries and the south Korean puppet forces who are working with bloodshot eyes to force the DPRK to “disarm itself” and to “overturn its social system”, the message added.

It highly appreciated the scientists, technicians, workers and officials in the field of national defence science and soldier-builders who have made great contributions to winning a great victory in the all-out confrontation with the U.S. imperialists and its allies, and safeguarding the supreme interests of the DPRK.

It is firm determination and will of the dear respected Kim Jong Un to finally conclude the confrontation with the U.S. imperialists by dint of arms of Songun [military-first] and build the strongest power which the whole world looks up and a people’s paradise on this land, the message stressed.

It expressed the conviction that the scientists, technicians, workers and officials in the field of national defence science and soldier-builders would win one victory after another, closely united around Supreme Commander Marshal Kim Jong Un.

A motor coach ferrying personnel involved in the DPRK's third underground nuclear test passes through Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang on 20 February 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

A motor coach ferrying personnel involved in the DPRK’s third underground nuclear test passes through Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang on 20 February 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (L) and Deputy (vice) Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department [MID] Hong Sung Mu (2nd L) greet participants and contributors to the 12 February 2013 nuclear test, as they arrive at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang on 20 February 2013.  The MID was one of the key organizations involved in the technical and logistical aspects of the country's third underground nuclear test (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (L) and Deputy (vice) Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department [MID] Hong Sung Mu (2nd L) greet participants and contributors to the 12 February 2013 nuclear test, as they arrive at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang on 20 February 2013. The MID was one of the key organizations involved in the technical and logistical aspects of the country’s third underground nuclear test (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

The nuclear test personnel arrived in Pyongyang on 20 February (Wednesday).  Pyongyangites lined the streets as the nuclear test personnel’s motor coaches (buses) motorcaded throughout Pyongyang before arriving at the nuclear test personnel’s accommodation at the Koryo Hotel.  Kyodo World Service reported on 20 February on the nuclear testers’ arrival: “Korean Central Television footage showed citizens lined up on major streets to welcome visitors arriving in buses. A large banner displayed at the lobby of the Pyongyang Koryo Hotel, which they are staying, reads, ‘Successful third underground nuclear test!’  According to the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, which caters to domestic radio listeners, nuclear scientists and others visited bronze statues of former leader Kim Jong Il and his father and state founder Kim Il Sung on Mansu Hill in the heart of Pyongyang.”  According to KCNA, after arriving at the Koryo the personnel were greeted by Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary for Machine-Building Industry Pak To Chun, KWP Secretary and Director of Propaganda and Agitation [publicity and information] Kim Ki Nam and senior managers of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 570 other followers