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4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors Held

27 Oct
Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks during the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The 4th Meeting of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Company Commanders and Political Instructors convened during 22 and 23 October in Pyongyang.  Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended both days of the meeting and delivered three speeches.  Also in attendance were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security), Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the Ministry of State Security Political Bureau), along with senior KPA officials, KPA commanding officers and KPA company commanders and political instructors.

In his opening speech to the meeting, Kim Jong Un said that “when all the participants strengthen companies, cell and basic combat unit of the People’s Army, to repay the party’s trust and expectation, the might of the powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu will be highly displayed, and expressed the conviction that the on-going meeting will serve as a historical landmark in arousing the whole army to strengthening companies, before declaring the meeting open.”  VMar Choe Ryong Hae delivered the meeting’s official report.   According to KCNA, VMar Choe said in his report:

President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) defined company as the cell of revolutionary armed forces and basic combat unit at a time when he formed the first armed ranks of Chuch’e-type in the forest of Mt. Paektu and brought up the fourth company of the 7th regiment of the anti-Japanese guerrillas as an exemplary company, thus setting a brilliant example in strengthening companies.

Kim Il Sung convened the meeting of company commanders and political instructors for the first time in the army-building history on October 11, Juche 62 (1973), attended the meeting and unfolded important guidelines in strengthening companies, an epoch-making event which effected a drastic turn in strengthening KPA companies.

Leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) put forth the original idea that strengthening company is a key link and a starting point in strengthening the whole army, brightly indicated orientation and ways for companies to follow at each stage and in each period of developing revolution and worked heart and soul for strengthening companies politically and militarily.

The Chuch’e-oriented idea of the great Generalissimos on strengthening companies and feats they performed by doing so are being successfully carried forward onto a higher stage thanks to the wise guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.

Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un formulated Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the guiding idea of the WPK and energetically led the work to model the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism in all aspects with companies as a base, thus opening up a heyday for strengthening the revolutionary armed forces.

Kim Jong Un brought up service personnel to be a-match-for-a hundred brave and stalwart fighters and provided energetic guidance to turn all companies into steel-strong militant ranks having strong discipline and assuming the perfect appearance as the regular armed forces by scrupulously managing the companies.

A fundamental turn took place in the ideological and moral traits of the company commanders and political instructors and in their work style and many successes were achieved in the efforts to consolidate the companies through the struggle to firmly preserve and glorify the idea of strengthening the companies set forth by the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu and their feats.

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department and Vice Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission delivers a report on the first day of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commander and Political Instructors in Pyongyang on 22 October 2013 (Photo: KCTV still).

Overview of the venue of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the venue of the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Choe Ryong Hae also “called for making sustained great efforts to bolster up the companies in order to accelerate the process of modeling the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism on a new higher stage and thus develop the KPA into an invincible revolutionary Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) army.”  KPA company commanders and political instructors delivers also made speeches during the meeting.  According to KCNA, the meeting speakers said “that all the companies of the KPA grew to be the ranks of human bullets and bombs devotedly defending the leader as they share the intention, love and destiny with the supreme commander under his energetic leadership and deep loving care” and “that they would turn all the companies into the ones of human bullets and bombs devotedly protecting the leader and defending the country full of faith and confidence that they are sure to emerge victorious as they are led by the supreme commander.”  Kim Jong Un listened to “all the speeches made by company commanders and political instructors at the meeting” and “invited the commander and former political instructor of the  Persimmon Tree (Kamnamu) company there to have a photo taken with them.”

Meeting speakers at the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photos: KCTV stills).

Meeting speakers at the 4th Meeting of KPA Company Commanders and Political Instructors held in Pyongyang on 22 and 23 October 2013 (Photos: KCTV stills).

Kim Jong Un also delivered an “historic speech” in which he appreciated “the successes made in the work of the companies” and lauded “those company commanders and political instructors who rendered devoted service for them.”  He also “set forth the tasks to be carried out to develop all companies into elite revolutionary ones devotedly defending the WPK Central Committee and the ways to do so” and “underscored need for them to firmly unite around the Party Central Committee to take the lead in overcoming difficulties and trials and fully prepare all the company soldiers politically and ideologically and in military technique.”  Kim Jong Un “called for establishing strong discipline in the companies, boosting their appearance as regular units, decisively raising the level of company commanding ability and improving the living conditions and environment of the soldiers” and noted “that the meeting helped him find out jewel-like patriots and unassuming commanders and political instructors who dedicated themselves to strengthening their companies.”  According to KCNA he said “in an excited tone that the Party Central Committee decided to highly praise them.”

VMar Choe Ryong Hae read a proclamation which awarded the title of Labor Hero, the Hammer and Sickle gold medal and Order of National Flag 1st Class to KPA company commander Kim Sang Il, KPA political instructor Pak Son Gi, company commander Kim Kwang Gum, Capt. Min Kwang Hae and company commander Sa Song Guk for performing “distinguished feats in bolstering up the KPA by strengthening companies into vanguard devotedly defending the leader, a-match-for-a hundred combat ranks and turning them into homes dear to soldiers, true to the last instructions of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the leadership of the party.”

Kim Jong Un delivered the meeting’s closing speech.  According to KCNA he said “the meeting would go down in the history of the Chuch’e-based army building as it provided a landmark for the development of the powerful revolutionary Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) army with the strengthening of companies as a starting point under the uplifted banner of modeling the whole army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism” and “declared the meeting closed, expressing belief that all participants in the meeting would augment the might of the People’s Army in every way, united close around the party, and thus perform their duty in carrying out the revolutionary cause of Military-First (So’ngun).

National Defense Commission Releases Statement on DPRK-US Relations

12 Oct
DPRK National Defense Commission (Photo: NK Leadership Watch Graphic)

DPRK National Defense Commission (Photo: NK Leadership Watch Graphic)

The National Defense Commission [NDC], the DPRK government’s highest authority and supreme power organization, issued a spokesman’s statement on 12 October (Saturday) which it said “revealed the deceptive nature of the rhetoric about non-aggression on the DPRK made by the U.S. recently, and principled stand of the DPRK on the DPRK-U.S. relations.”  The NDC’s statement said that the United States should “lift all steps for isolating and stifling the DPRK” including the removal of preconditions for a US-DPRK dialogue and the suspension of sanctions against the country over its advanced weapons and space programs.  The NDC’s statement was released the same day as an editorial in Rodong Sinmun protesting ongoing joint US-ROK exercises in the East Sea (of Japan) which said that the “DPRK is possessed of powerful nuclear deterrence capable of foiling the enemies’ moves for a nuclear war at a strike and blowing up their strongholds” and that “if the U.S. and south Korean bellicose forces ignite a nuclear war despite the DPRK’s repeated warnings, it will mobilize all its war deterrents and deal fatal blows at the provocateurs and thus achieve lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

According to KCNA, the NDC statement said that “on October 3 U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said that if the DPRK starts denuclearization first, the U.S. will be ready to have dialogue with it and that if it becomes clear that the DPRK started denuclearization, Washington will open peaceful relations with Pyongyang and sign a non-aggression pact” and that Secretary Kerry’s “remarks, which mean that the U.S. will enter into friendly relations with the DPRK after it is left bare-handed, are the height of American-style impudence and craftiness.”  The statement also said that the DPRK is “well aware that even though it clamored for non-aggression, the U.S. is running the whole gamut of intrigues to lead the DPRK to ‘change’ and ‘collapse’, while persistently opposing the withdrawal of its aggression troops from south Korea” and that the “U.S. call on the DPRK to lay down arms and remain bare-handed is an intolerable mockery and insult to the army and people of the DPRK.”  The NDC said that “it is disgusting to see the U.S. playing the role of a leading character with high skill in the charade” and that US proposals “for non-aggression cannot guarantee peace and security on the Korean Peninsula but the nuclear-armed revolutionary forces for self-defense of the DPRK can defend and guarantee everything.”

The NDC’s statement also said :

 If the U.S. truly wants to improve the relations with the DPRK, it has to properly understand the DPRK and behave as befitting a big power.

The DPRK is no longer a small and weak country which used to be in the past when it was hacked at the point of bayonets of big powers for it had neither sovereignty nor arms.

The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks it can frighten the army and people of the DPRK through the “gunboat” offensive, with which it used to browbeat the world and bring its rival to its knees in the past, and through the superiority in the air based on latest science and technology, and can hurt the DPRK through the vicious moves for isolating and stifling it politically and economically.

The U.S. tragedy is that it does not know about the DPRK which is demonstrating its strong spirit and its army and people who love and value their country more than their own lives.

If the U.S. truly wants to mend the relations with the DPRK, it should properly understand the DPRK supported even by tens of millions of south Koreans, and behave itself as befitting a big country.

The U.S. should no longer talk about dialogue and improvement of relations with preconditions nor maintain the brigandish insistence that non-aggression is possible only when the DPRK dismantles its nuclear weapons first.

The army and people of the DPRK can discern the ulterior intention concealed in the dialogue and non-aggression proposed by the U.S.

The U.S. should discard the old way of thinking and outdated stand and abandon the threadbare hostile policy toward the DPRK, before it is too late.

For a good while the U.S., when meeting with DPRK officials behind closed doors, used to talk volubly that Washington has no intent to pursue policy hostile toward the DPRK. In recent public appearances Washington is working hard to build public opinion, claiming that it has neither hostile policy toward the DPRK nor willingness to replace the regime in the DPRK by attacking it. But in actuality it is working hard to realize its attempt at the regime change while systematically escalating all sorts of sanctions, isolation and blockade against the DPRK after invariably labeling it as part of “an axis of evil” and a “rogue state” behaving contrary to “law standard” and “international cord of conduct.”

The situation goes to fully prove that the U.S. assertions that it has neither hostile policy toward the DPRK nor intent to attack it are a poor farce for deceiving the public at home and abroad and mocking at the army and people of the DPRK.

If the U.S. wants to escape the pent-up grudge and retaliation of the army and people of the DPRK, it should drop its old way of thinking and outdated stand and make a bold decision to roll back its old hostile policy toward the DPRK before it is too late.

The U.S. should clearly understand the meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lift all steps for isolating and stifling the DPRK.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the consistent policy goal set forth by the DPRK government. It calls for the denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula including south Korea.

This denuclearization is a peace-loving and powerful physical means for defusing all the U.S. nuclear threats to the DPRK and denuclearizing the world.

If the U.S. continues threat and blackmail against the DPRK, the DPRK will get more time in its favor and the U.S. will only precipitate its miserable end.

In other words, the DPRK will prosper with increasing vigor and strength, as it has smaller, diversified and precision nuclear weapons, but the U.S. will remain as a bubble marginalized in history.

The U.S. should, first of all, lift all the sanctions it imposed against the DPRK under absurd charges, if it wants to get rid of the present poor situation.

It should stop resorting to the stereo-typed nuclear blackmail against the DPRK.

The further the U.S. escalates its nuclear threat and blackmail, the deeper it will find itself in self-contradiction and bottomless labyrinth.

What we would like to emphasize is that the U.S. should take a bold decision to halt at once all the provocations against the DPRK including war exercises which aim at bringing down its social system and territorial invasion.

Explicitly speaking, the U.S. should make a policy switchover by withdrawing all the measures it has taken to isolate and stifle the DPRK as part of its greedy pivot to Asia-Pacific strategy.

Herein lies the way for improving the DPRK-U.S. relations and guaranteeing peace and security not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the U.S. mainland.

 

Wreath Laying Ceremonies Held to Mark 64th Anniversary of Kim Jong Suk’s Death

22 Sep
A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un at the memorial bust of his grandmother Kim Jong Suk at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un at the memorial bust of his grandmother Kim Jong Suk at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

A floral wreath laying ceremony were held at the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk (Kim Cho’ng-suk) at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang on 22 September (Sunday) to mark the 64th anniversary of her death.  Similar wreath-laying ceremonies were held the same day in front of Kim Jong Suk statues in Hoeryo’ng, North Hamgyo’ng Province (her birth place) at the Kim Jong Suk Naval Academy in South Hamgyo’ng Province and the Kim Jong Suk General Military Academy.  Kim Jong Suk (1917-1949) was the first wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and mother of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and current Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui.  Kim Jong Suk died in Pyongyang on 22 September 1949 due to complications from an extra-uterine pregnancy.

Attending the wreath laying ceremony at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery were Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), along with other senior KWP, KPA and DPRK Government officials.  A floral wreath sent by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was delivered to the memorial bust, as well as wreath jointly sent by the KWP Central Committee, the SPA Presidium and the DPRK Cabinet.  Wreaths sent by the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the Ministry of People’s Security and from “working people’s organizations, ministries, national institutions, KPA units, scientific, educational and media institutions, joint national organizations of the Korean Children’s Union, party and power bodies, factories and farms in Pyongyang” were also delivered.  According to KCNA, “participants paid silent tribute to her, recollecting her revolutionary life.”

Floral wreaths delivered to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk to mark the 64th anniversary of her death in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Floral wreaths delivered to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk to mark the 64th anniversary of her death in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA).

Members of the DPRK central leadership visit Kim Jong Suk's memorial bust at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang to mark her death anniversary on 22 September 2013.  Among those in attendance are: Gen. Kim Won Hong (L), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (2nd L), VMar Ri Yong Mu (3rd L), VMar Kim Yong Chun (4th L), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (5th L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (6th L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (7th L), Kim Yong Nam (8th L), Pak Pong Ju (9th L), Kim Ki Nam (10th L),  Choe Tae Bok (11th L), Pak To Chun (12th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (13th L) (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the DPRK central leadership visit Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust at Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery in Pyongyang to mark her death anniversary on 22 September 2013. Among those in attendance are: Gen. Kim Won Hong (L), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (2nd L), VMar Ri Yong Mu (3rd L), VMar Kim Yong Chun (4th L), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (5th L), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (6th L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (7th L), Kim Yong Nam (8th L), Pak Pong Ju (9th L), Kim Ki Nam (10th L), Choe Tae Bok (11th L), Pak To Chun (12th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (13th L) (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and Young Red Guards salute Kim Jong Suk's memorial bust in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Members of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and Young Red Guards salute Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust in Pyongyang on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

DPRK citizens pay their respects to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk, wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

DPRK citizens pay their respects to the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk, wife of late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung, on 22 September 2013 (Photo: KCNA screengrab).

Kim Jong Suk's obituary (Photo: KCTV/NKLW archive photo).

Kim Jong Suk’s obituary (Photo: KCTV/NKLW archive photo).

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.

WPRK Parade and Demonstration Held to Mark DPRK’s 65th Anniversary

10 Sep
2013-09-10-02-04

Kim Jong Un waves to a crowd from the parade review platform in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013, during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation. Also seen on the platform with him are Jang Song Taek (L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (2nd L), Kim Ki Nam (3rd R), Kim Yong Nam (2nd R) and Pak Pong Ju (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Worker-Peasant Red Guards [WPRG] staged a parade, followed by a demonstration by Pyongyangites, in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September (Monday), the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK.  Kim Jong Un attended the WPRG parade and demonstration.  Also on the reviewing platform were senior DPRK officials including Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President), Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), “the chairperson of a friendly party, officials of the party, armed forces organs and the Cabinet and chief secretaries of Provincial Party Committees of the WPK” along with “Kwon Sun Hwi, advisor to the Central Standing Committee of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and Choe Un Bok, chairwoman of the General Association of Koreans in China.”  Also in attendance were “deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly, officials of the party, armed forces and power bodies, social organizations, ministries and national institutions, service personnel of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, officials in the fields of science, education, literature and arts, public health and media, merited people, delegations of overseas Koreans and other compatriots and the chief of the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front” and “foreign delegations and delegates, foreign diplomatic envoys and representatives of international bodies and their wives and military attaches here and other foreign guests.”

Minister of the People's Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (foreground) presents Worker-Peasant Red Guard members to participate in a parade marking the 6th anniversary of the foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam (foreground) presents Worker-Peasant Red Guard members to participate in a parade marking the 6th anniversary of the foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (C) delivers a speech at a parade and demonstration in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation.  Also seen in attendance is Minister of State Security Gen. Kim Won Hong (L) and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Gen. O Kuk Ryol (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju (C) delivers a speech at a parade and demonstration in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation. Also seen in attendance is Minister of State Security Gen. Kim Won Hong (L) and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Gen. O Kuk Ryol (R) (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

The flags of the DPRK and Korean Workers’ Party were raised with musical accompaniment.  WPRG members were ceremoniously inspected then presented to Kim Jong Un by Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Gen. Jang Jong Nam.  After the presentation of the WPRG members DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech in which, according to KCNA, he said “that the history of the DPRK clearly proves immutable truth that the great leaders assure the high dignity and prosperity of the country and nation” and “stressed that the army and people of the DPRK holding the peerlessly great men in high esteem generation after generation will as ever dynamically advance along the road of independence, Military-First (So’ngun) and socialism and it will shine forever as the socialist state of Juche with the invincible might.”

After Pak’s speech the WPRK parade began with the marching of flags displaying of the portraits late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and his son late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).  This was followed by WPRG members emptying Kim Il Sung Square and its vicinity to mark past the parade reviewing platform.  The WPRG members consisted of reserve military training units members of the WPRG’s units from the provinces, at industrial complexes and agricultural sites, along with WPRG units of the Ministries of Land Management and Public Health, reserve units from DPRK universities and members of the Young Red Guard.  The parade marchers were followed by a ride-past of multiple-launch rockets systems [MLRS] and towed artillery pieces.  A parade and demonstration by the citizens of Pyongyang followed the WPRK parade which began with a float consisting of replicas of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues amid a a sea of people carrying the DPRK flag.  According to KCNA “columns of dancers depicting the national flag, Taekwon-do players, military families, artistes, scientists, sportspersons, teachers and medical workers walked past the square” and “letters reading ‘Kim Il Sung’, ‘Kim Jong I’, ‘Kim Jong Un’, ‘Glory’, ‘Celebration of 65th Anniversary’, ‘Great Mt. Paketu (Paektusan) Nation’, ‘Speed on Masik Pass’, ‘Economic Power’, ‘Single-minded Unity’, etc. were presented on the square and the flags of the DPRK and the WPK were portrayed in succession.”

View of the Grand People's Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country's foundation.  Also viewable in this image behind the study house are the KWP Organization Guidance Department, the Pyongyang Ice Rink and the Red Wall Apartments (inhabited by KWP Secretaries) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

View of the Grand People’s Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 during a parade and demonstration marking the 65th anniversary of the country’s foundation. Also viewable in this image behind the study house are the KWP Organization Guidance Department, the Pyongyang Ice Rink and the Red Wall Apartments (inhabited by KWP Secretaries) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guard march through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang during a parade marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guard march through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang during a parade marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Red tractors tow multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) through Kim Il Sung Square on 9 September 2013 as part of the WPRK parade (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Red tractors tow multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) through Kim Il Sung Square on 9 September 2013 as part of the WPRK parade (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Towed multiple-launch rocket systems ride through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Towed multiple-launch rocket systems ride through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Parade floats which were part of a demonstration by Pyongyangites which followed the WPRG parade, held on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Parade floats which were part of a demonstration by Pyongyangites which followed the WPRG parade, held on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un waves to a parade and demonstration held to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK's foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013.  Also seen in attendance are: VMar Kim Yong Chun, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Jang Song Taek and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Photo: KCTV still).

Kim Jong Un waves to a parade and demonstration held to mark the 65th anniversary of the DPRK’s foundation in Pyongyang on 9 September 2013. Also seen in attendance are: VMar Kim Yong Chun, Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Jang Song Taek and VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Photo: KCTV still).

At the end of the parade “there were loud hurrahs resounding far and wide, fireworks being shot up and balloons rising to the sky.  Kim Jong Un, accompanied by VMar Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Taek, walked along the parade reviewing platform’s deck with Kim Jong Un waving to the crowd.

A few recent internal political issues (involving personnel matters) could be observed at the WPRK parade and demonstration.  Events held to mark the DPRK’s 65th anniversary were going to provide clarity on the current officeholder of Chief of the KPA General Staff.  Based on the standing order on the parade reviewing platform, Gen. Ri Yong Gil was standing in the spot previously occupied by Gen. Kim Kyok Sik indicating that Gen. Ri has replaced Gen. Kim.  Ri Yong Gil has also been replaced, with a new and unknown Chief of the General Staff Operations Bureau attending to Kim Jong Un during the WPRG parade.  The anniversary event also marked the return of KWP Secretary and weapons industry boss Pak To Chun.  Pak had not appeared in state media for several months and distinctly absent from war anniversary events in July.  Pak was shown at least three times, standing along side other senior KWP officials.   Kim Jong Un’s walk along the parade reviewing platform’s balcony to wave to the crowd was an interesting tabeleaux du régime for leadership dynamics.  Usual post-parade platform walks by the supreme leader have usually involved senior officials such as the SPA Presidium President, the DPRK Premier and the Chief of the KPA General Staff; instead, Kim Jong Un was accompanied by KPA General Political Department Director VMar Choe Ryong Hae and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek.  When taken with images and film footage of the war anniversary events from July,  Kim Jong Un’s balcony walk shows the DPRK’s top three political officials.

DPRK Documentary Film Shows Kim Jong Il Inspecting Nodong, KN-08 Missiles

28 Aug
Late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il stands close to a TEL carrying a version of the Nodong medium-rang ballistic missile during a guidance visit that appears to be from the early 2000s.  The image is from a documentary film aired  by DPRK state media to mark the 53rd anniversary of Military-First (So'ngun) Revolutionary Leadership (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il stands close to a TEL carrying a version of the Nodong medium-rang ballistic missile during a guidance visit that appears to be from the early 2000s. The image is from a documentary film aired by DPRK state media to mark the 53rd anniversary of Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

To mark the 53rd anniversary of Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership, DPRK state media aired another installment of the documentary film series General Kim Jong Il’s Matchless Patriotic  Defense of the Country.  The film splices together a variety of footage of Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) conducting field inspections of Korean People’s Army [KPA] units, KPA economic activity and arms and munitions factories.  During scenes of his visits to arms factories, Kim Jong Il is shown touring an unknown weapons production facility  during the early 2000s.  In the scene KJI is shown standing next to a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile on a TEL (transporter-erector-launcher).  Footage from the same visit also shows what is possibly the fabled KN-08 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.  It is not clear where this visit occurred, although possibilities include one of the machine factories in Jagang (Chagang) Province, a building at the Sanum-dong Research Facility in northern Pyongyang, the Tae-sung Machine Factory outside Namp’o or some other factory  under the Second Economy Commission (Second Economic Committee) or the Second Academy of Natural Sciences.

Transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) carrying a version of the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) carrying a version of the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Nose cone of a Nodong medium-rang ballistic missile (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Nose cone of a Nodong medium-rang ballistic missile (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of what is possibly the KN-08 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile on what appears to be the WS51200 TEL (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of what appears to be the KN-08 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile on a TEL (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of another mobile ballistic missile at what appears to be an arms factory or development facility (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

View of another mobile ballistic missile at what appears to be an arms factory or development facility (Photo: KCTV screengrab).

Expanded Meeting of the Party Central Military Commission Held

27 Aug
Kim Jong Un presides over an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un presides over an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 25 August (Sunday) that an expanded meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Military Commission [CMC] was held.  The meeting’s venue and date was not publicized.  Attending the meeting were CMC Members, members of the executive board of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] KWP Committee, commanding officers of the KPA’s service branches and KPA corps commanders.  According to KCNA, the meeting “discussed and decided upon practical issues of bolstering up the combat capability of the revolutionary armed forces and increasing the defence capability of the country in every way as required by prevailing situation and the present conditions of the People’s Army.”  Also discussed during the meeting was an “organizational matter” which most likely refers to personnel changes (appointments and dismissals) on the CMC.  At the end of the CMC meeting, according to KCNA, Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) “made an important concluding speech which would serve as guidelines for firmly protecting the sovereignty and security of the country and promoting the cause of the Military-First (So’ngun) revolution of the party.”

Kim Jong Un speaks at an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un speaks at an expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting in August 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the expanded Party Central Military Commission meeting in August 2013 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Graphic of current members of the Party Central Military Commission (Photo: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

Graphic of current members of the Party Central Military Commission (Photo: Michael Madden/NK Leadership Watch).

The last expanded CMC meeting was held in early February 2013.  This CMC meeting, along with a meeting of the KWP Political Bureau held on 12 February 2013, affirmed the DPRK central leadership’s decision to conduct a third experimental nuclear detonation, which occurred on 12 February at the test site in P’unggye-ri, Kilju County, North Hamgyo’ng Province.  According to a 22 August report in Dong-a Ilbo, which cited “informed sources on North Korea,” command of military operations during war or a national crisis have been transferred from the DPRK National Defense Commission to the CMC.  The news report also claimed that the decision to declare a war, or national crisis, was subject to a collective decision of the CMC, the NDC and KPA Supreme Command; previously the Supreme Command had sole authority to declare a war.  According to Dong-a Ilbo, “experts judge that this change is meant to promote the formality of the organizations of supreme authority making collective decision through consultations.”

DPRK state media reported on 25 August (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un attended a banquet hosted by the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Military-First (So’ngun) Revolutionary Leadership.  The banquet was attended by members of the CMC, the NDC, senior KPA officials and KPA service branch and corps unit commanders.  VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department delivered a speech.  VMar Choe referred to Kim Jong Un having published a treatise on Military-First leadership in the 25 August 2013 editions of Rodong Sinmun and Joson Inmingun.  According to KCNA Choe also said:

Kim Jong Un dedicated his everything to bolstering up the military capability by making endless trips to forefront posts and units including the Kkachilbong post on Mt. Oso’ng, saying the road of Songun covered by the great Generalissimos all their lives is the journeys to be made by him. Thanks to his energetic Songun leadership, the country greeted the golden days of the army building and great events took place on this land one after another, striking the world people with admiration.

Our army and people will build a reunified, prosperous and the strongest country and a land of bliss for people where loud shouts of hurrah for the WPK will ring out on this land at an early date by intensifying the drive for displaying the “Speed on Masik Pass” on all fronts for the building of a thriving nation.

During the banquet, attendees toasted to the health of Kim Jong Un, described as representing “the destiny, future and ever-victorious banner of the great Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) power.”

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