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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.”

Minister of People’s Security Reclaims 4th Star

12 Jun

Gen. Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People's Security (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Gen. Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People’s Security (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported that Choe Pu Il, Minister of the People’s Security, was restored to his previous rank of four-star General (taejang) per an order of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).  Choe Pu Il was first promoted to General by late leader Kim Jong Il on 28 September 2010.  Choe’s name appeared on a promotions list which also elevated Kim Jong Un, Choe Ryong Hae (current Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department; later elevated to Vice Marshal [ch'asu]) Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy (vice) Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department), Hyon Yong Chol (then-commander of VIII Army Corps; served as Chief of the KPA General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013 and currently commander of V Army Corps) and Kim Kyong Hui (Kim Jong Un’s aunt and a core member of the DPRK leadership).  Choe was rumored to have been reduced rank to three-star Colonel-General (sangjang) in late 2011, although it is not clear what prompted his demotion.  From about 2012 until February 2013 Choe Pu Il served as the Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau.  In February he was appointed Minister of the People’s Security, where he replaced Gen. Ri Myong Su.  On 31 March 2013, Choe was elected an alternate (candidate) member of the KWP Political Bureau and at the 7th session (plenum) of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] on 1 April 2013 Choe was elected a member of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC].

According to KCNA, the Ministry of the People’s Security [MPS] and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] “together with the Korean People’s Army constitute armed groups which play the role of two mainstays of the Korean revolution” and in issuing the promotion order Kim Jong Un “expressed belief that all service persons of the people’s security organ and the KPISF would creditably perform their honorable mission and duty as the first-line soldiers protecting the socialist system, remaining loyal to the leadership of the party.” Rodong Sinmun reported that Choe Pu Il’s rank was restored because “The organ of people’s security and the people’s internal security forces are two leading armed groups that, together with the people’s army, form twin pillars of our revolution.  In the past period, members of the public security corps and the officers and men of the people’s internal security forces performed great feats that will forever shine in the history of the fatherland by highly demonstrating boundless devotion and sacrifice in the sacred struggle to defend the party, system, and the people both in the days of glory and days of ordeals while highly upholding the banner of death-defying defense of the leader” and that “the prevailing situation urgently demands the organ of the people’s security and the people’s internal security forces, which are the revolutionary armed forces of our party, to impregnably guard the gateway of the socialist system and to reliably guarantee, with gun barrels and law, the party’s line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed forces.”

Graphic of the key bureaus of the Ministry of the People's Security (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Graphic of the key bureaus of the Ministry of the People’s Security (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Ministry of People's Security headquarters (Photo: Google image)

Ministry of People’s Security headquarters (Photo: Google image)

Choe Pu Il’s February 2013 appointment as Minister created a superficial gap in the power balance among the DPRK’s internal security agencies.  His counterpart at the Ministry of State Security, Kim Won Hong, was a four-star general.  The formal military rankings of these agencies’ leading officials suggest that the one led by a full-general has a more superior position, and valued more by the leader, than an agency led by a three-star general.  Based on his observed and reported public activities, Kim Jong Un appeared to be favoring the Ministry of State Security over the Ministry of the People’s Security.  Both ministries erected statues of late leader Kim Jong Il on the campuses of their respective headquarters, however Kim Jong Un visited the Ministry of State Security after it unveiled its KJI statue, but not the MPS.  The MPS, however, demonstrated its political clout in 2012 when KPISF commander, Gen. Kim In Sik, was appointed Vice Premier of the DPRK Cabinet and later appointed Chairman of the Capital City (Pyongyang) Construction Commission.  Kim Jong Un visited People’s Security headquarters and inspected a KPISF unit on May Day (1 May; International Labor Day) 2013.

The Ministry of the People’s Security is a large security organization consisting of (ca.) 200,000 employees with diverse missions.  In DPRK vernacular, the MPS is “a dinosaur” indicating the immense size and resources of the organization.  The MPS is the DPRK’s major domestic law enforcement and public safety organization.  It enforces DPRK laws and statutes (i.e. misdemeanors and felonies), discharges a number of public safety functions (fire departments, traffic control, road and railway security), administers prisons and labor detention facilities and is responsible for various registration records (the census, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses).  MPS personnel provide security to DPRK Embassies and missions located abroad, to DPRK Cabinet members and other DPRK government officials and DPRK universities and research institutions.  They also support the missions of the Guard Command, which provides close protection for Kim Jong Un and others core DPRK elites.  The MPS and the KPISF also operate several engineering and construction brigades (which some sources claim construct the tunnels used in nuclear detonations) and own several farms and other production sites, including the Taedonggang Combined Fruit Farm and Factory and the 927 Chicken Farm.  The MPS and KPISF are subordinate to the National Defense Commission, but they report to Jang Song Taek in his capacity as NDC Vice Chairman and Director of the KWP Administration Department.

Ministers of the People's (Public) Security from 2000 through the present (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Ministers of the People’s (Public) Security from 2000 through the present (Graphic by Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Like some other recent personnel changes at the upper tier of the DPRK’s** national security community, Choe Pu Il’s replacement of Ri Myong Su did not involve an aggressive purge of the incumbent official in favor of a Kim Jong Un loyalist.  Despite being removed from office, Gen. Ri appears to remain a member of the central leadership, albeit operating in a diminished capacity.  Like his two immediate predecessors, Choe has spent part of his career in command positions in the KPA’s conventional forces.  Both Choe Pu Il and Ri Myong Su have held the position of Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau [GSOB].  Choe was head of the operations bureau from 2012 to 2013 and Ri headed the bureau from approximately 1996 to 2007.  Like the Minister of People’s Security, the Chief of the General Staff Operations Bureau leads a diverse security organization with hundred of thousands of personnel, has direct access to the supreme leader and an intimate knowledge of the country’s various power organizations and their activities.  While not a head of the GSOB, Ri Myong Su’s predecessor, Gen. Ju Sang Song, had served as an inspector-general of the Chief KPA General Staff and was the commander of the IV Army Corps.  Since the health-related retirement of Paek Hak Rim in 2003, the MPS had only once been led by a civilian, Choe Ryong Su, who served as Minister for about a year until he was removed from office.  Since Choe’s 2004 dismissal, the DPRK leadership has seemingly earmarked the Minister’s position for the KPA.

**Rumors of purged security officials are greatly exaggerated in the Pyongyang watching community.  Gen. U Tong Chuk stood aside as Minister of State Security in 2012 and vacated his political offices, but was never purged.  Readers can do the math on Gen. U’s status, factoring in that he spent much of his career as an overseas intelligence manager and officer.  VMar Kim Jong Gak was removed as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces in November 2011, but has not lost his Vice Marshal’s rank and was assigned another position.  Hyon Yong Chol, who served as Chief of the KPA General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013, was reduced in rank and assigned command of V Army Corps.  And then there’s Kim Kyok Sik, removed from office as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces in May 2013 after six months in officer.  Gen. Kim, identified as the target of the biggest purge this side of ’56, ended up appointed Chief of the General Staff.

***For fans of James Church’s Inspector O series, “the Minister” in The Corpse in the Koryo and Bamboo and Blood was Paek Hak Rim and “the Minister” in Hidden Moon was Choe Ryong Su***

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.”

Kim Jong Un Visits People’s Security Ministry and Watches Workers’ Sports Competition on May Day

2 May

Kim Jong Un (1) on the plaza in front of the Ministry of People's Security headquarters in Pyongyang, prior to commemorative photo-ops on May Day (1 May) in Pyongyang.  Also in attendance are Minister of People's Security, Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (3) and Director of the KPSIF Political Bureau, Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (2) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (1) on the plaza in front of the Ministry of People’s Security headquarters in Pyongyang, prior to commemorative photo-ops on May Day (1 May) in Pyongyang. Also in attendance are Minister of People’s Security, Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (3) and Director of the KPSIF Political Bureau, Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (2) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 1 May (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspected the Ministry of People’s Security and watched a sports contest between DPRK public health workers, on International Labor Day (May Day).  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at the DPRK premier league men’s football (soccer) finals for the Mangyo’ngdae Prize at Kim Il Sung Stadium.  First, Kim Jong Un visited the Ministry of People’s Security [MPS] and inspected Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] Unit #2219.  Attending his visit to the MPS was VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department) and Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC] and Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Administration Department).

After arriving at MPS headquarters in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un posed for commemorative photographs with MPS and KPISF personnel.  He also paid his respects to statues of Kim Il Sung, the late DPRK President and founder, and Kim Jong Il, the country’s late leader.  According to KCNA, KJU said “the erection of their statues at the ministry strikingly demonstrates the unshakable will of all people’s security persons and service personnel of KPISF to eternally hold the peerlessly great men in high esteem and devotedly defend the socialist system, a precious legacy bequeathed by the Generalissimos.”  He also “underscored the need for them to eternally hold the Generalissimos in high esteem as the sun of Chuch’e, firmly defend and glorify their undying revolutionary exploits with pure revolutionary conscience and strong sense of obligation.”  Kim Jong Un “gave important instructions to tighten people’s security and bolster up the combat capabilities of KPISF in every way” and remarked that “the Ministry of People’s Security and KPISF play a very important role for defending the socialist system, he said, adding that the people’s security persons and service personnel of KPISF should be deeply aware of their heavy yet honorable combat missions.”  

Kim Jong Un poses for commemorative photographs in front of the Ministry of People's Security headquarters in Pyongyang on 1 May 2013 (Photos: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un poses for commemorative photographs in front of the Ministry of People’s Security headquarters in Pyongyang on 1 May 2013 (Photos: Rodong Sinmun)

KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un “underlined the need to strengthen the people’s security organ and the internal security forces as units defending the policies of the party, strong guardians of socialism, merciless striking forces and reliable protectors of the lives and properties of the people” and said that “the enemies are now afraid of our single-minded unity around the party more than anything else and running the whole gamut of desperate and base moves to destabilize and bring down our society.”  KJU said “now that the enemies are working hard to bar our people from trusting and following the party with pure conscience and fixed will and alienate the masses from it, it is important to intensify the struggle to frustrate their moves,” “called for devotedly defending the party, social system and people, decisively foiling the ideological and cultural poisoning and psychological warfare of the enemies and mercilessly wiping out the undesirable and hostile elements who have foolish day dreams” and he “underlined the need for the ministry and the internal security forces to make full combat preparations to annihilate the U.S. imperialists and south Korean puppet group keen to stifle the DPRK and to creditably fulfill their missions and duties in the sacred struggle to provide a firm guarantee by dint of arms and law for the implementation of the party’s line on simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of nuclear force.”  He also noted that “our Chuch’e-oriented socialist country is invincible as the Korean People’s Army and KPISF, the two revolutionary armed forces of the WPK, are firmly defending the security of the country and people.”

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with officers and service members of Korean People's Internal Security Forces Unit #2219 on 1 May 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photograph with officers and service members of Korean People’s Internal Security Forces Unit #2219 on 1 May 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un then inspected KPISF Unit #2219.  After his arrival, he presented the unit with a pair of binoculars and an automatic rifle during a short ceremony.  He then posed for commemorative photographs with officers and service members of the unit.  KJU toured the political education facilities, visited a mess hall, a dormitory, a cultural education classroom and a washroom.  KCNA reported that KJU was “satisfied to see good conditions in the bed room, praising the unit for keeping the wash-cum-bath room with a sauna attached neat and clean.”  During a visit to a classroom he “he underscored the need to train the soldiers to be strong in idea and faith by intensifying politico-ideological education among them.”

After his tour, he supervised a drill by the unit.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “highly appreciated their success in the drill and indicated tasks for bolstering up the combat capabilities of the unit” and “expressed belief that just as the service personnel of KPISF have always did, the soldiers of the unit would display a do-or-die will and matchless courage and thus become iron shields and fierce tigers devotedly defending the party, social system and people in their struggle to decisively foil the enemies’ moves to stifle the DPRK.”

Kim Jong Un (1) watches a sports competition of public health workers on 1 May 2013 with his wife Ri Sol Ju (2).  Also in attendance are: Jang Song Taek (3), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (4), Pak Pong Ju (5), Kim Kyong Hui (6), Kim Ki Nam (7) and Kim Yang Gon (8).  (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (1) watches a sports competition of public health workers on 1 May 2013 with his wife Ri Sol Ju (2). Also in attendance are: Jang Song Taek (3), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (4), Pak Pong Ju (5), Kim Kyong Hui (6), Kim Ki Nam (7) and Kim Yang Gon (8). (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un’s next visit was his attendance at a sports contest between public health workers.  He was joined by his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu) along with Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Cabinet Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, Kim Kyong Hui (KWP Secretary, KJU’s aunt and head of the Kim Family), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and Supreme People’s Assembly Chairman), Pak To Chun (KWP Secretary), Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department) along with “other senior officials of the party, the state and the army and workers in the field of public health.”  Also in attendance from the central leadership were: Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security) Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang City [municipal] KWP Committee), Jo Yon Jun (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security Political Bureau), Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (Director of the KPISF Political Bureau), Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Col. Gen. Jo Kyong Chol (Chief of the Military Security Command), Gen. Yun Jong Rin (Chief of the Guard Command) and Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau).

The public health workers were divided into two teams–the Pot’onggang and Taedonggang teams.  KCNA reported of the sports competitions:

Male and female volleyball matches took place first.

The Pothonggang Team defeated its rival in the breath-taking male volleyball match and the Taedonggang Team trounced its rival in the female volleyball match.

Then followed table-tennis matches.

Men’s and women’s singles and doubles and singles of leading officials of the relevant units were played, drawing the attention of the spectators.

The Pothonggang Team won the men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles while the Taedonggang Team emerged a winner in the women’s doubles.

The Pothonggang Team won the singles of leading officials of the relevant units.

The Pothonggang Team beat its rival 4:1 in the table-tennis matches.

A tug of war took place between the two teams.

The Pothonggang Team won the game.

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “clapped his hands whenever the players displayed high technique.”  The results of the competitions were announced and prizes given to the participants.  At the end of the event, KJU “waved back to the enthusiastic cheers of the players and spectators and congratulated them on the successful games.”

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