DPRK state media reported on 5 July (Saturday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju (Pak Pong-chu) visited the construction of the Wisong Street apartment complex and the renovation of May Day Stadium. According to KCNA Pak toured the construction sites and encouraged “the builders working a fresh miracle through a collective innovation movement, in hearty response to the instructions given by Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) while providing field guidance to them.” He also “called on the builders to step up the construction on the highest level so that they may take responsibility for the safety of the projects and guarantee their absolute quality for all eternity and widely introduce the advanced building methods” and “underscored the need to satisfactorily supply materials needed for the finishing projects.”
DPRK state media reported on 5 July (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) guided and observed an island landing drill. Korean People’s Army [KPA] infantry, artillery, naval assets and air craft participated in the landing drill. In attendance with KJU were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff) and Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau). KJU’s last observed appearance was his attendance and supervision of a swimming assessment of KPA Navy command staff.
Kim Jong Un was briefed about the plans for the drill, ordered the drill to begin and the site “looked like an active volcano.” According to KCNA as he watched the landing drill unfold, Kim Jong Un remarked that “it was possible to deal deadly blows at the enemies through initial strikes if the time for striking was properly fixed and fire was concentrated on them through prompt, accurate and united actions” and the drill’s participants “were excellent and deserved to be called a-match-for-a-hundred fighters as they underwent intensive training day and night with the extraordinary awareness that a combat drill should be carried out as scheduled.” KJU also “noted with great satisfaction that the drill was successful as it met the requirements of the Chuch’e-based war method.”
He also inspected naval vessels from a KPA Navy warship and “congratulated the participants in the drill on their success.” He “set forth important tasks which would serve as guidelines for further developing the People’s Army into the ever-victorious revolutionary armed forces.” According to KCNA he said that “history proves that it is impossible to protect the destiny of the country and its people unless the army is bolstered up,” and underscored “the need to put more spurs to increasing the military strength which means the sovereignty of the country and the nation and the national power.” KJU called on “the KPA to intensify the training essential for augmenting the military strength” and “instructed the commanding officers to thoroughly do away with formalistic, ready-made and stylish practices in training and steadily improve forms, contents and methods of training as required by the modern warfare.” He also “instructed them to frequently organize a similar drill in the future, always bearing in mind training means a battle” and “called on the whole army to defend the sky, land and seas of the socialist homeland as firm as an iron wall, watching every movement of the enemies with vigilance.”
Kim Jong Un recalled that “the inviolable waters on the southwestern front of the country are exposed to frequent threat due to a handful of enemies and there was a dangerous incident in which the shells fired by them dropped in territorial waters of the DPRK some days ago” and said that he “took it very seriously and he was closely watching them.” KJU also “strongly warned that should the enemies repeat the wrong choice on the wrong day in the hotspot waters, he would make them regret bitterly for their action.”
On 4 July 2014, the DPRK Government formed a special investigative committee charged with a “comprehensive” enquiry into the the whereabouts and status of all Japanese nationals presently residing, or who have previously resided, in the DPRK. The investigative committee was formed by a “special mandate” of the DPRK National Defense Commission, the country’s highest authority, in accordance with an agreement between the governments of Japan and the DPRK and it “shall operate under a well-regulated command system of the Center.”
Although it was established under the pretext of re-investigating the whereabouts of Japanese nationals abudcted by DPRK operatives during the 1970s, the special investigative committee’s areas of enquiry will be “investigated in a simultaneous and parallel manner and the investigation will be conducted by way of holding interview, hearing testimony and touring the relevant field.”
According to an announcement disseminated by KCNA on 4 July the committee “will be invested with special mandate from the National Defence Commission of the DPRK to investigate all institutions and mobilize relevant institutions and persons concerned for the investigation any time when necessary.” The special investigative committee will consist of 30 officials drawn from the Ministry of State Security [MSS], the Ministry of People’s Security [MPS], the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF, the DPRK Cabinet and the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK; Korean Workers’ Party]. So Tae Ha, Vice Minister of State Security and NDC Councilor, was appointed Chairman of the Special Investigations Committee and will be supported by Kim Myong Chol, MSS Councilor, and Pak Yong Sik, MPS Department Director.
The DPRK’s special investigation committee will consist of four different panels:
- A panel tasked to investigate the remains of Japanese nationals buried in the DPRK will be led by Kim Hyon Chol of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection and will “take measures concerning various places where remains of Japanese are buried across the territory of the DPRK and conduct field survey and trial excavation on the basis of the existing information, testimonies, etc. and consult and take steps for handling remains.”
- A panel investigating Japanese nationals currently residing in the DPRK will be led by DPRK Red Cross Society Secretary-General Ri Ho Rim and “confirmation will be made through register books of citizens kept by people’s security institutions and relevant people’s committees and through information provided by those concerned and hearing testimonies made by witnesses, and measures will be taken”
- A panel tasked to investigate Japanese abducted Japanese nationals will be headed by Ministry of State Security Councilor Kim Myong Chol and shall “reinvestigate the abductees recognized by the Japanese government and confirm all records of each person from his or her entry”
- A panel focused on the whereabouts of Japanese nationals reported missing will be led by Pak Yong Sik, Minister of People’s Security Department Director and Vice Chairman of the Special Investigation Committee will enquire about the “entry into the DPRK of those who were reported missing and their identities will be confirmed by use of register books of citizens kept by the institutions of people’s security while taking the information provided by the Japanese side for reference.”
After the preliminary investigations about the predicament of Japanese nationals, the DPRK also announced that “personnel concerned of the Japanese side will be allowed to visit” in order to “ensure objectivity and transparency of the investigation.
Hwang Pyong So, Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department, met with Lt. General Valery Khalilov, Director of Music of Military Bands Services of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Segei Durgin, head of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Central Military Orchestra, and the orchestra’s principal musicians in Pyongyang on 2 July (Wednesday). Also in attendance were Lt. Gen. Ryom Chol Song (Deputy Director of the KPA General Political Department), senior officials of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces along with the charge d’affaires and defense attache of the Russian Embassy in the DPRK.
VMar Hwang “courteously conveyed the congratulations of KPA Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n), first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, to the central military orchestra on giving splendid performances which encouraged the army and people of the DPRK and contributed to the development of the traditional DPRK-Russia friendly relations.” According to KCNA, Hwang Pyong So quoted Kim Jong Un who has stated that he ” he warmly welcomed the revisit of the central military orchestra to the DPRK, setting store by the ties it had with leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and that “he (KJU) was too busy to watch the performance and meet the members of the central military orchestra and personally invited them to spend holiday in Korea, adding all of them or its leading members only might come to it later.” Hwang also said that Kim Jong Un remarked he ” hoped that the traditional DPRK-Russia friendly relations would develop on a higher level, stressing that the army and people of the DPRK would make positive efforts to invariably boost the DPRK-Russia friendship with a long-standing tradition as intended by the supreme commander. He hoped that the central military orchestra would as ever perform the role of a bugler in boosting the DPRK-Russia friendship.”
Valery Khalilov “extended his thanks to Kim Jong Un for personally inviting the central military orchestra to visit the DPRK and congratulating it on its successful performances and offering it a warm salute” and said that “the current visit to the DPRK provided the members of the central military orchestra with an opportunity to know well about the high sense of organization and discipline of the service personnel of the KPA and people wisely led by the supreme commander.” Lt. Gen. Khalilov requested that Hwang “convey the warm regards of all members of the central military orchestra to Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, who personally invited the central military orchestra to visit the DPRK and took deep care of it so that it might give successful performances.”
On 2 July, the DPRK National Defense Commission hosted a reception for the Central Military Orchestra. Attending the reception were VMar Hwang Pyong So, Lt. Gen. Ryom Chol Song, Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff), senior MPAF officials and members and functionaries of the KPA’s military bands.
At the reception, Lt. Gen. Ryom Chol Song and Col. Gen. O Kum Chol delivered speeches in which they remarked that “that the orchestra’s visit to the DPRK marked an important occasion in demonstrating the traditional DPRK-Russia friendship and greatly encouraged the army and the people of the DPRK dynamically advancing toward the final victory under the wise leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un” and, according to KCNA, they recalled that “Kim Jong Un highly appreciated the successful performances of the orchestra and extended congratulations to it and took such benevolent step as making sure that a meaningful reception was given for it.”
Lt. Gen. Valery Khalilov and the Central Military Orchestra’s conductor Andrei Nisenbaum “extended sincere thanks to Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un for personally inviting it to visit the DPRK and paying deep attention to it during the whole period of its visit to the DPRK..” They also remarked that during their visit to the country “members of the orchestra came to know well the fact that the DPRK and Russia have the long-standing tradition not only in political and military fields but in the cultural field and it is of weighty significance in boosting the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries to develop military music between the armies of the two countries, they noted. It is the invariable will of the armies and peoples of the two countries to boost the bilateral traditional relations of friendship” and they underscored “the need for the armies and peoples of the two countries to join hands and make concerted efforts to boost the Russia-DPRK friendly relations in the future, too. “
DPRK state media reported on 2 July (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) supervised an assessment of the swimming ability of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Navy commanding officers. Attending this event with him were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau) and Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff).
According to KCNA the swimming drill was “organized by the order of the supreme commander was conducted in such a way that the commanding officers of the East Sea Fleet and the West Sea Fleet of the KPA Navy simultaneously started in column formations up to the turn-round point at the distance of 5 km and swam back from it.” Ahead of the drill KJU met the commanding KPAN commanders and “told them that the assessment of their swimming ability was of weighty importance in rounding off the combat readiness of the navy and remarkably bolstering up the combat capabilities by making the training more intense just as the anti-Japanese guerillas did in Mt. Paektu.” He said that “the commanding officers should become good fighters if the army is to fight well. . . modern warfare requires the commanding officers to be prepared not only politically and ideologically and in military technique but physically. The commanding officers are not qualified if they lack physical ability, no matter what good ideological and moral qualities they have and no matter how high military and technological qualifications they are possessed of as they should stand in the van of the combat ranks. When the commanding officers are fully prepared, they can always lead intensive training of service personnel, shouting ‘Forward, following me!’ not ‘Charge ahead!'”
Kim Jong Un also said “seamen should acquire high ability of swimming” and that “only when the commanding officers of the navy are good at swimming, can they lead the seamen and successfully carry out the naval operation for implementing the strategic plan of the supreme command even in vast expanse of sea.” According to KCNA, the KPAN commanding officers “renewed their resolution to fully display the might of Kim Jong Un’s Navy in the assessment event, regarding the drill for assessing the swimming ability to be staged before the supreme commander as a battle field without gunfire.”
The swimming drill began and “participants fully demonstrated the swimming ability they have cultivated in their day-to-day training, displaying great persevering strength, will and team spirit.” Based on KCNA’s report commanding officers of the West Sea Fleet outperformed their counterparts from the East Sea Fleet. Kim Jong Un provided his assessment and review of the drill. According to KCNA he “expressed great satisfaction over the successful drill and set forth tasks to be fulfilled to round off the combat readiness and bolster up the combat capabilities of the naval units including the work for making swimming drill a rule and part of life of the seamen so that they may satisfactorily perform their combat missions under any circumstances.”
Prior to the swimming drill, KJU’s last observed appearance was his field inspection of the defense detachment on Hwa Islet. Attending the field inspection were VMar Hwang Pyong So and Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon. His first stop was to a monument commemorating an October 1999 field inspection by his father, late supreme leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il). According to KCNA, KJU recalled that “President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) gave dozens of precious instructions as regards the islet defense detachment and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) always paid deep attention to it” and he “underscored the need to glorify their exploits performed in commanding the army with the shining achievements in rounding off the combat preparations and bolstering up combat capabilities.”
He looked at the trees and forest around the barracks and remarked that the “islet is full of trees. It’s better to call the islet Song Islet instead of Hwa Islet as pine trees have formed thick verdure.” KJU “highly praised the detachment for having turned the islet into a thick woodland and greenery and orchard as intended by the party.” Kim Jong Un then received a briefing on the defense detachment’s mission and operations planning.” According to KCNA he underscored the “need to wipe out the enemies coming in attack from the sea to the last man” and “indicated new and unique war methods to be applied by the Hwa Islet Defence Detachment for rounding off its combat readiness such as the deployment of strike means and the effective use of the firing positions as required by the modern warfare.” He also said that the Hwa Islet Defense Detachment “is an advance base in the defense theater” of KPA Large Combined Unit (taeyonhap pudae) #324 “and outpost in the East Sea guarding the gateway to the Party Central Committee.” He noted that it was “an important task of the defense detachment to turn the islet into an impregnable fortress, unsinkable warship and the present-day Wolmi island.”
Kim Jong Un issued instructions that the defense detachment’s command staff “intensify the politico-ideological education among the service personnel to train them as phoenixes, underlining the need to make military training, in particular, part of their life and habit and thus build a-match-for-a hundred combat capabilities so that they may send all the enemies intruding into the territorial waters of the DPRK to the bottom of the sea once a battle starts.” KJU ordered and supervised an artillery drill and watched the drill “with deep attention the artillery men in firepower service through a pair of binoculars.” After the artillery drill he remarked that service members “are very good at firing. All of them are crack shots and the commander of the defense detachment has successfully commanded the firing. The artillery men could hit all targets as they have undergone intensive training, bearing deep in mind the call of the party for waging a dynamic movement for becoming crack shots.” KJU called the detachment’s 5th company who conducted the drill “Crack Shots Company” and he “extended the thanks of the KPA supreme commander to it.”
After the artillery drill, KJU toured the the 3rd company’s quarters, bathing facilities, mess and supply. According to KCNA he said that “it is very gratifying to hear that the defense detachment serves every service person with more than 360g of soy-based food every day and each mess hall of the companies is providing the service personnel with fish and with sumptuous meals by raising lots of domestic animals such as pigs, ducks and geese.” He also noted the “companies of the defense detachment are like homes dear to the soldiers and the detachment is like their native village as it provides them with sumptuous meals and warm beds.” Kim Jong Un praised the Hwa Islet Defense Detachment “for most thoroughly carrying out the party’s military policy like the Ryo Islet Defense Detachment” and “called on it to make a high-pitched drive for developing stockbreeding, fishery and soybean farming to turn itself into a more proud and richer detachment in the future.”
Kim Jong Un concluded his field inspection by presenting binoculars and an automatic rifle to the 3rd Company and attended a commemorative photo-op with officers, service members and their families. He expressed “expectation and belief that the service personnel would remain true to the party’s Military-First (So’ngun) revolutionary leadership.
DPRK state media reported on 29 June (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended and supervised the tactical missile firing drill conducted by the Korean People’s Army [KPA] Strategic Rocket Forces. Attending the test firing of the two short-range Scud missiles was VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department). At the drill site KJU was joined by Commander of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force Col. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom and other senior command staff of the SRF. KJU’s last observed appearance was his visit to the recently constructed Kalma Foodstuffs Factory.
After receiving a briefing on the rocket drill, Kim Jong Un ordered that the drill commence. KCNA reported that the drill “smoothly conducted on the basis of a scientific calculation of the whole course of the rocket firing and the scrupulous security check and search for flight orbit and targeted waters” and “had no slight impact not only on the regional peace and security but on international navigation order and ecological environment.” After the drill, KJU “expressed great satisfaction over the successful firing of tactical rockets” and participated in a commemorative photo-op with KPA service member and officer participants in the drill.
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said that “the peaceful environment dearest to the DPRK people can neither be provided by someone nor can be bartered for anything” and “that as durable peace can be protected only when one is so strong that nobody dares provoke one and it can be guaranteed by one’s own strength, it is necessary to put the biggest spurs to bolstering up the self-defensive deterrent of the KPA in every way to protect the security and peace of the country and firmly defend the gains of the revolution.” He “underscored the need to round off the combat readiness of the strategic force so that no aggressors may recklessly dare threaten and infringe upon the cause, sovereignty and vital rights of the DPRK and to further develop and perfect Chuch’e-oriented rocket science and technology and firing methods.” Kim Jong Un also “expressed great expectation and belief that the service personnel of the strategic force would keep themselves fully ready to fire the highly effective ballistic rockets any moment on high alert as required by the prevailing situation and the developing revolution and thus foil the reckless acts of the U.S. imperialists and their followers who are steeped in evil repugnancy and pursue inveterate hostile policy toward the DPRK and provide a firm guarantee for the building of a thriving socialist nation.”
On 27 June (Friday) that KJU attended the test firing of tactical guided missiles. Attending this test firing with him were VMar Hwang Pyong So, Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Col. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff) and Hong Yong Chil (Deputy [vice] Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Machine-Building Industry Department). KJU’s last observed appearance at that time was a visit to the construction of the Pyongyang Baby Home and Orphanage.
After being briefed on on the “the tactical and technological information of the newly developed guided missiles” Kim Jong ordered that the test firing commence. KCNA reported that the “test-fire proved that the tactical guided weapons didn’t have an inch of deviation in their scientific and technological performance” and that the test was “another shining success made by scientists in the field of national defense and workers in the field of munitions industry in their efforts to implement the WPK’s policy of manufacturing high-precision, lighter, automatic and intelligent weapons and equipment.” The missile test “helped the KPA get the master key to putting all strike means including short-, medium- and long-range guided weapons on ultra-precision basis of the world level and opened a bright prospect for maximizing their striking accuracy and power.” The “test-fire at a time when the U.S. and the south Korean puppet regime and all other allied forces are going extremely reckless in the moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and unleash a war of aggression marked a significant event in bolstering up the defense capability for self-defense” and “greatly encourages the service personnel and people of the DPRK.”
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction over the results of the test-fire” and remarked that “officials and workers in the fields of national defense science and munitions industry would manufacture more ultra-precision tactical guided weapons capable of taking the decisive initiative in any operation and battle of the modern warfare through accurate preemptive strikes, always bearing in mind the expectations of the party and the people.” KJU also “advanced new tasks to be fulfilled by the field of national defense science and technology.”
The test firing of the missiles was first observed at around 17:00 KST on 26 June (Thursday). An unnamed official of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] speculated to Yonhap that “their range is some 190 kilometers, and we are now looking into exactly what type of rockets North Korea fired” and noted that the KPA’s KN-09 300 mm MRL has “a similar range.” The JCS official also said the “300-millimeter launcher is known to have an up to 160 kilometer range” and that “as of now, it is yet to be confirmed if the North enhanced its capacity.”
This latest pair of missile tests is probably linked to a missile production policy initiated by Kim Jong Un in May 2014. According to both DPRK and ROK sources, KJU ordered an increase in the production of short- and medium-range missiles. On 14 May, DPRK state media reported that Kim Jong Un visited the January 18 General Machinery Plant in South P’yo’ngan Province. During his visit he said that the “plant should put the production processes on a CNC and unmanned basis in order to boost the production of highly efficient machine products needed by various fields of the national economy and achieve successes in the work for developing new varieties of products” and he “set the goals to be attained by the plant in the near future and promised with loving care to solve all the problems arising in updating it including the provision of all latest equipment needed for it.” He also opined that the plant is “the eldest brother-like plant and a heart-like plant in developing the nation’s machine-building industry and the Party attaches great importance to this plant.I came here today to turn the plant into a model one, a pivotal and core one representing the machine plants of our country.”
The plan to renovate and upgrade the January 18 General Machinery Plant is a key aspect of KJU’s missile production policy because it will manufacture missile engines for the DPRK’s eventual new inventory of short- and medium-range missiles. Additional missile production is also expected to be carried out at other industrial facilities in South P’yo’ngan Province. Underscoring the importance of South P’yo’ngan Province in DPRK missile production, Kim Jong Un has tapped one of his close aides to monitor the progress of manufacturing as well as the renovation of the January 18 General Machinery Plant. In late May, WPK Organization Guidance Department deputy [vice] director Pak Thae Song (Pak T’ae-so’ng) was appointed Chief Secretary of the South P’yo’ngan WPK Provincial Committee. In this position, Pak will ensure that relevant factory managers and functionaries in South P’yo’gan comply with KJU’s instructions on missile production.
Jang Song T’aek, Chairman of the DPRK State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission and Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, met a sports delegation from Japan in Pyongyang on 6 November (Wednesday). Jang met with Kanji (Antonio) Inoki (Member of the House of Councillors), members of Inoki’s entourage, and a delegation of the Nippon Sport Science University led Kenshiro Matsunami (University Chancellor). Attending from the DPRK were Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kim Song Nam (Deputy Director of the Korean Workers’ Party International Affairs Department), Ma Chol Su (Secretary of the DPRK-Japan Friendship Association), Sin Tong Gyu (Rector of he Korea University of Physical Education) and other officials.
Jang and the Japanese delegation also watched basketball games at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium. Also in attendance were “basketball experts, fans and citizens including students in Pyongyang.” The games were between DPRK and Japanese men’s and women’s university teams. According to KCNA ” players created chances for scoring through diversified and well-organized attack and accurate passes between two or three players to serve the teams’ tactical intention and that “spectators enthusiastically applauded the players when they scored goals.” Korea University of Physical Education won both games.
A delegation from the DPRK Supreme Prosecutor’s Office (f.k.a. the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office) met with Chinese Deputy Procurator (Attorney) General Hu Zejun on 28 October. The DPRK delegation included 1st Vice Director Lt. Gen. Ri Chol, other Supreme Prosecutor’s Office officials and DPRK Ambassador to China Ji Jae Ryong. At the meeting, the DPRK and PRC signed a memorandum of understand on cooperation between the DPRK Supreme Prosecutor’s Office and the PRC Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
According to Chinese state media, Hu Zejun said that “North Korea is China’s friendly neighbor and Friendship between the two peoples have a profound historical basis. Sino-Korean diplomatic ties have existed for more than 64 years. The bipartisan leaders of the two countries maintain close communication, both in law enforcement to further strengthen judicial exchanges and cooperation, and have achieved gratifying results. I believe that your Excellency’s current visit will further promote the existing good relations between the procuratorial organs.” Hu briefed the DPRK delegation on functions and missions of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and said it was using revised criminal and civil statues to “strengthen legal supervision, safeguard social fairness and justice to play a more active role.” After the meeting, a signing ceremony was held to ink the memorandum of understanding on cooperation. Hu said that the MOU was signed “to deepen exchanges and cooperation” and that the agreement “marked the judicial cooperation between the two sides and entered a more substantive phase.” Hu said that “Chinese prosecutors are willing to take this opportunity to promote comprehensive development and friendly relations with North Korea.” Ri Chol said that the “the DPRK attaches great importance to exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese procuratorial organs, will seriously implement the memorandum of understanding on cooperation and consensus reached at the meeting and cooperation between procuratorial organs to achieve new progress.”