DPRK state media reported on 27 June (Friday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju (Pak Pong-chu) visited the Sinp’o Pelagic (open sea) Fishing Complex in South Hamgyo’ng Province. He toured the fishing complex’s vessels and viewed its equipment. According to KCNA he ” encouraged fishermen, firmly determined to bring about great innovations in the pelagic fishing this year by carrying forward the heroic fighting spirit of the preceding generation.” After his tour he held a meeting with fishery officials based on the DPRK’s east coast. The meeting “discussed the issue of setting a model in the east coastal area and generalizing it on the basis of the analysis of the production foundation and potentials of the fishery stations in North and South Hamgyo’ng and Kangwo’n provinces.” The meeting “took measures to improve the living standard of fishermen and simultaneously push forward pelagic and offshore fishing including the issues modernizing fishing boats, bringing dredge of wharves and repair of breakwater to a normal footing and satisfactorily ensuring electricity and spare parts needed for repairing fishing boats.” Pak Pong Ju “called upon the fishery complex to make big fish hauls,” according to KCNA.
DPRK state media reported on 1 November (Friday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju toured the construction of the second phase of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Breeding Station #621 He toured the first phase of the breeding farm’s construction “carried out at the personal initiative of supreme leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and under his energetic leadership” and Pak was briefed about the facility’s breeding of livestock and its construction. He held a meeting with local managers and employees which “confirmed the construction projects to be undertaken at various stages to attain the goal of the 2nd phase construction as intended by the Workers’ Party of Korea and discussed measures for ensuring the supply of necessary materials and equipment.” According to KCNA, Pak Pong Ju said that “the construction of a center for breeding domestic animals of good stock is making rapid progress at a time when the Sep’o tableland is turning into a large-scale livestock base” and he called “on the relevant units to creditably fulfill their responsibility and role.”
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and a senior Mongolian Government delegation departed the DPRK on 31 October (Thursday) after a four day visit. Attending the farewell ceremony were Kim Yong Nam (Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President), Pak Ui Chun (DPRK Foreign Minister), Ri Ryong Nam (Minister of Foreign Trade), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff), Son Kwang Ho (Vice Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Kwak Il Ryong (Vice Minister of Land and Marine Transport), Hong Kyu (DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia), Kim Jin Bom (Chairman of the DPRK-Mongolia Friendship Association and Vice Chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries), other DPRK officials and staff members of the Mongolian Embassy in the DPRK. According to KCNA when President Elbegdorj and his wife “arrived at the airport, children of the Mongolian embassy presented bouquets to him and his wife” and that Elbegdorj “exchanged farewells with the officials.”
Prior to his departure President Elbegdorj toured the Munsu Swimming Complex where he watched a volleyball game between the 25 April Sports Team and Mongolia’s Enacoree Sports Team. President Elbegdorj also visited Kim Il Sung University on Thursday. Elbegdorj and members of the Mongolian delegation delivered flowers to the statue of late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) on the university’s campus. Elbegdorj also delivered a speech to KIS University faculty and students. According to KCNA, Elbegdorj said that “he was pleased to visit the university and referred to the politics, economy, history, culture and foreign policy of Mongolia.” Elbegdorj noted that “President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) visited Mongolia two times” and said “that the relations between the two countries have a long history and tradition. He expressed the belief that the friendly relations between the two countries associated with the wisdom and efforts of the leaders of the elder generation would grow stronger.”
President Elbegdorj presented a gift to Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) on Thursday which was received by SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam. When Elbegdorj and the Mongolian delegation departed from Pyongyang airport later the same day, he had not met with Kim Jong Un, despite widespread expectations that the DPRK leader would hold his first summit meeting with a foreign head of state since assuming power between 2011 and 2012. However, neither Mongolia nor the DPRK ever officially claimed that Kim Jong Un would receive Elbegdorj. In reporting about President Elbegdorj’s arrival in and departure from Pyongyang, KCNA clearly said Elbegdorj and senior Mongolian government officials visited “at the invitation of Kim Yong Nam.” In reporting about Elbegdorj’s departure from Mongolia to the DPRK on 28 October, a news release from the Office of the President said that he would “hold official meetings and negotiations with the DPRK leaders and other high-level government officials to discuss issues of bilateral relations as well as regional and international matters of mutual concern.” News.MN reported that President Elbegdorj “will have individual meetings with the North Korean leader and high ranking officials for official talks on mutual relations between Mongolia and DPRK as well as regional and international issues.” InfoMongolia noted in its 28 October report that Elbegdorj’s visit “was the first head of state to visit since Kim Jong-un took power,” but also reported that Elbegdorj “will meet with high-level officials from the Government and ruling party.” None of these news items explicitly reported that Elbegdorj and Kim Jong Un would actually meet–the only report from News.MN which referred to “the North Korean leader” did not mention Kim Jong Un.
The perception that an Elbegdorj-Kim summit meeting would be held derived from non-Mongolian and non-DPRK media reports in which anonymous sources claimed that a summit was on the agenda. A 22 October Kyodo World Service report filed from Ulan Bator claimed that during his visit Elbegdorj was “to discuss bilateral and regional affairs” with Kim Jong Un. Kyodo cited an unnamed “Mongolian government source.” On 24 October the Wall Street Journal reported that “North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is set to meet his first head of state since coming to power nearly two years ago when Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visits Pyongyang next week” and that “the Mongolian Embassy in Seoul confirmed the visit would take place but declined to comment further.” However the WSJ report was not clear whether the Mongolian Embassy in ROK “confirmed” an Elbegdorj-Kim meeting or simply “confirmed” that Elbegdorj was traveling on an official state visit to the DPRK. On the day Elbegdorj and the senior Mongolian delegation arrived in Pyongyang, Yonhap reported that Kim Jong Un was “set to hold talks with the visiting Mongolian president this week” and that “we have been informed that First Secretary Kim and the Mongolian president were scheduled to hold talks today or tomorrow.”
Kim Jong Un’s last reported meetings with senior officials of foreign governments, including Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, occurred in July 2013 when the DPRK marked the anniversary of the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War armistice. Prior to that, the last significant interaction Kim Jong Un had with foreign government officials was in December 2012 when he received a senior delegation of the Communist Party of China [CPC] led by CPC Political Bureau Member Li Jianguo. Kim Jong Un does not appear to be completely allergic to interacting with foreign visitors, having met twice with former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman, as well as meeting with the management of Russia’s Orchestra of the 21st Century, top International Weightlifting Federation officials and interacting at several events with foreign diplomats and NGO heads stationed in the DPRK. Kim Jong Un’s first and only reported meeting with a foreign head of state occurred in September 2011 when Kim Jong Il received and met with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone.
DPRK state media reported on 26 October (Saturday) that Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju visited a cooperative farm and the construction South Hwanghae Provincial Mushroom Farm. Pak first toured the Jangsong Cooperative Farm in Ongjin County. He held a meeting with the farm’s managers and employees which, according to KCNA, “underscored the need for agricultural workers to finish the threshing in good time by gathering all crops without any waste as befitting masters responsible for the nation’s agricultural production and by operating threshing machines in full capacity” and “called on the relevant units to satisfactorily supply electricity necessary for farms and took measures for meticulously organizing and commanding transport and carrying procured grains in time.” Pak also visited the construction of the South Hwanghae Provincial Mushroom Farm. According to KCNA Pak said that the “construction of the farm is a patriotic work to implement the behests of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) who worked heart and soul to provide the people with tasty nutritious mushroom and the noble intention of Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n)” and Pak “took measures to ensure quality in construction and complete it in a short span of time.”
The Mirim Riding Club in east Pyongyang (formerly known as the Equestrian Company of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit #534) was formally opened at a ceremony on 25 October (Friday). Attending the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee), “commanding officers of the units which took part in the construction, officials of ministries and national institutions, soldier-builders, people from all walks of life, youth and students, the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front and overseas Koreans” along with “diplomatic envoys of foreign countries, representatives of international bodies, military attaches and their spouses, staff members of foreign embassies here and other foreign guests.”
VMar Choe Ryong Hae delivered a speech at the ceremony in which he said that ” that the club is a product of the energetic leadership provided by Marshal Kim Jong Un with devoted service for the people and the heroic efforts of the service personnel and people of the DPRK who are immensely loyal to the cause of the party.” Senior officials held a ceremonial tape which was cut by people representing the KPA, workers and the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League. After the tape was cut, the riding club was formally opened and ceremony participants toured the premises. According to KCNA “the club is a comprehensive and modern riding service center conducive to the physical training of people including school youth and children” and is “equipped with all conditions and environment necessary for riding and education such as riding courses, riding training halls, room for dissemination of riding knowledge, rest house, veterinary hospital and breeding research institute.”
The Munsu Water Park, a water amusement park in east Pyongyang that has been under construction since February 2013, opened with a ceremony on 15 October (Tuesday). Ceremony participants included Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee), Ro Tu Chol (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission), “officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, soldier-builders, people from all walks of life, school youth and children, the chief of the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front and overseas Koreans” along with “diplomatic envoys of various countries, representatives of international bodies and military attaches with their wives, staff members of foreign embassies here and foreign guests staying in the DPRK.”
Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech formally opening the Munsu Water Park. According to KCNA, Pak said “the water park is the edifice built thanks to KPA service personnel’s spirit of devotedly carrying out any project and their fighting traits as they are ready to flatten even a high mountain at a go in hearty response to the order of the supreme commander” and “stressed the need for officials and employees of the water park to serve the people in the spirit of devoted service to them and take good care of all facilities so as to glorify forever Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) leadership exploits and make sure that the party’s warm love for the people reaches the working people and school youth and children.” A ceremonial ribbon was cut by representatives of students, children, Pyongyang citizens, the Korean People’s Army [KPA] units who constructed the swimming complex and Mun Kyong Dok. According to KCNA, “people from all walks of life and school youth and children participating in the ceremony were deeply admired to go round different places of the Munsu Water Park successfully built as a leisure complex for the people to be proud of before the world.”
The Munsu Water Park (which has previously been identified as the Munsu Wading Pool and the Munsu Swimming Complex during its construction) is the third large construction project in Pyongyang to open this week. On 13 October (Sunday) KWP Secretary and Supreme People’s Assembly Chairman Choe Tae Bok (Choe T’ae-pok) presided over two separate ceremonies which opened the Okryu (Ongyu) Children’s Hospital and Ryugyo’ng Dental Hospital.
DPRK state media reported on 15 October (Tuesday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju visited the Yoldusamch’o’n Farm in Sukch’o’n County and the Ansok Cooperative Farm in Onch’o’n County, both in South P’yo’ngan Province. The farms were described as “making successes in harvesting and threshing.” Pak Pong Ju talked with “functionaries of the primary organization and farmers who distinguished themselves.” According to KCNA, Pak “congratulated them on their successes and made inquiries about the crop estimate and supply of materials by the relevant units.” Pak held a consultative meeting “where he called for concentrating all efforts and mobilizing all means for farming and doing farming in scientific and technological way to carry out behests of Generalissimos Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), true to the intentions of supreme leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).” Pak “underscored the need to direct efforts to cultivating high-yielding crops of new species suited to the geographical and climatic conditions of the country under the Workers’ Party of Korea’s policy for bringing about a radical turn in seed selection,” he “called for pushing ahead with the work to make revolution in agricultural science and technology and industrialize and modernize the farming” and he “made sure that measures were taken for the supply by the relevant units of electricity and fuel necessary for harvesting and threshing to successfully conclude this year’s farming.”