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.”
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.
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.
A national meeting of managers and workers in the DPRK’s post and telecommunications sector was held at the 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 16 September (Monday). Attending the meeting were DPRK Premier Pak Pong Ju, Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Ki Nam, DPRK Vice Premier Jon Sung Hun, Chief KWP Provincial Committee Secretaries along with “officials of party and armed forces organs, the Cabinet, working people’s organizations, ministries, national institutions, party and power organs of provinces, cities and counties, exemplary personnel in posts and telecommunications service and officials of relevant units.”
Pak Pong Ju read a letter by Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) “On Bringing About a Fresh Turn in Posts and Telecommunications” which said that “Generalissimos Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) advanced Chuch’e-oriented idea and theory concerning the posts and telecommunications service, indicated orientation and ways of modernizing it as required by the developing revolution and devoted themselves to its modernization” and clarified tasks and ways for the personnel in the posts and telecommunications service to preserve and glorify the immortal exploits of the Generalissimos for the development of Chuch’e-oriented posts and telecommunications and put the service on the world’s advanced level as early as possible by devotedly carrying out the WPK’s policy on posts and telecommunications.” According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un’s letter also “called on all the participants to bring about a fresh turn in the service by successfully discharging their honorable duties and missions in the spirit of devotedly serving the country and people.” Jon Sung Hun delivered the meeting’s report which “referred to the remarkable development made by the service thanks to the patriotic devotion and energetic leadership provided by the Generalissimos” and said that “the posts and telecommunications service has successfully performed its mission and role in the important work for building a thriving nation and improving the people’s living standard.” A series of speakers followed the reading of the letter and report.
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.”
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.”
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.
Floral wreath laying ceremonies were held at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery, the Patriotic Martyrs’ Cemetery and the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang on 8 September (Sunday). Attending the wreath laying ceremonies were Kim Yong Nam, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Ryong Hae along with “other senior party, state and army officials, vice-premiers of the Cabinet, a chairperson of the friendly party, officials of the party, armed forces and power bodies, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, service personnel of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces (KPISF) and Pyongyangites.” Wreaths sent on behalf of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) were placed at the three cemeteries, along with wreaths sent by the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee, the Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium, the DPRK Cabinet, the DPRK National Defense Commission, the Party Central Military Commission, the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the Ministry of People’s Security and from “working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, units of the KPA and the KPISF, scientific, educational, public health and media institutions and party and power organs, factories and farms, etc. in Pyongyang.” According to KCNA, “participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of the martyrs” then “looked round the cemeteries.”