DPRK state media reported on 5 November (Tuesday) that Premier Pak Pong Ju visited the Sunch’o’n Chemical Factory, Pukch’ang Thermal Power Complex and the To’kch’o’n Area Coal Mining Complex . Pak first visited Sunch’o’n Chemical Factory where he “held a consultative meeting,” according to KCNA, “to discuss the issue of keeping its production going at a high rate and measures to be implemented by the relevant units to ensure the supply of necessary raw and other materials.” Pak also toured Pukch’ang Thermal Power Complex and held a meeting with its managers and employees. The meeting “underscored the need for the officials to bring about innovations by meticulously organizing and commanding the production in keeping with high zeal of the workers, deeply aware of the important duty to be performed by the complex for power production” and “took measures to ensure that relevant domains increase their roles.” After his visit to the power complex Pak visited one of the mines that supplies coal to the Pukch’ang power complex. At the Chenam Mine of the To’kch’o’n Area Coal Mining Complex, Pak Pong Ju held a meeting with mine officials that “called for carrying out the monthly and quarter yearly plans for coal production without fail to contribute to increasing the power production and the improvement of the people’s living standard. It also took necessary measures.”
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.”
Two construction projects linked to the DPRK’s policy of promoting sports and physical culture were opened in Pyongyang on 3 October (Thursday). A ceremony was held on Thursday marking the opening of the renovation of the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, a venue for political meetings, commemorative photo-ops and athletic competitions located on a bank of the Pot’ong River in the city centre next to the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Central Committee Office Complex. Attending the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA]), Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the SPA Presidium), Kwak Pom Gi (KWP Secretary and Director of the Finance and Planning Department), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang KWP Committee), Ro Tu Chol (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the State Planning Commission), Kim Yong Jin (DPRK Vice Premier), Kim In Sik (DPRK Vice Premier and Chairman of the Capital City Construction Commission), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Ri Jong Mu (Minister of Physical Culture and Sports), Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff) along with “exemplary construction workers who took part in the remodeling construction; functionaries and employees of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports and Pyongyang Indoor Stadium; players, coaches, and members of the cheering squad taking part in the National Sports Contest of Provincial Teams; (and) working people of Pyongyang and the youth and students.”
Pak Pong Ju delivered a speech in which he said that “Supreme leader Kim Jong Un unfolded a plan for giving a facelift to the stadium, which is associated with the leadership feats of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) and contributed to the development of the country’s sports and the cultural and emotional life of the working people, as required by the new century, and wisely led the work to do so.” According to KCNA Pak also “called on all officials and other people to pay deeper social attention to the sports, raise the hot wind of sports across the country through mass sports activities and thus glorify forever the undying feats of the WPK which has provided the people with the best base for sports and cultural life. ” After the ceremony, participants toured the stadium and watched the Provincial Teams’ National Sports Contest.
In east Pyongyang, at the Central Youth Hall, on 3 October a ceremony was held at which DPRK athletes were given residence certificates to live in a recently constructed apartment complex in the Pyongyang’s Pot’onggang District. Attending the ceremony were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Kim Ki Nam, External Construction Guidance Bureau officials and athletes receiving apartments. In his speech at the ceremony Kim Ki Nam said that “the houses reflectMarshal Kim Jong Un’s great expectation that the sportspersons will display ardent enthusiasms and faithfully uphold the WPK’s idea on turning the DPRK into a sports power” and he “stressed the need for officials in the sports field, players and coaches to make contributions to demonstrating the dignity and honor of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea with gold medals.” According to KCNA the athletes’ apartments have”several living rooms, a kitchen, a washroom, a toilet, etc. and are furnished with household goods and high-class furniture. ” On 5 October (Saturday), members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visited the athletes and their families in the apartments. They brought housewarming gifts and “told the sportspersons to give fuller play to the might of Kim Il Sung’s nation and Kim Jong Il’s Korea by winning gold medals in international games in the future and thus encourage all the service personnel and people dynamically advancing towards a final victory in the building of a thriving socialist nation.”
Members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission visit athletes’ apartments on 5 October 2013.