Archive | succession RSS feed for this section

New Director of Party Finance and Accounting Department (revised)

24 Jul
Han Kwang Sang (standing behind KJU, L) has been appointed director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch/Rodong Sinmun file photo).

Han Kwang Sang (standing behind KJU, L) has been appointed director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department (Photo: NK Leadership Watch/Rodong Sinmun file photo).

According to ROK media, citing anonymous sources and observations in DPRK state media, Han Kwang Sang has been promoted to director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Finance and Accounting Department.  The Finance and Accounting Department is part of the central party apparatus which manages the finances of the party and the Kim Family.  It also is responsible for the payroll and material lives of party officials and employees.

From 2009 to 2013 Han served as the department’s senior deputy (1st Vice) director, as the nominal head of Office #38 which manages the Kim Family’s finances.  He made his first observed appearance in January 2010, when he accompanied late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) on a guidance tour of the renovation of the Hyangsan Hotel.  His public appearances traveling with Kim Jong Il increased after the succession of Kim Jong Un was widely publicized in September 2010, even though his attendance was not always noted state media reporting.  Han has been a fairly routine member of Kim Jong Un’s entourage during his visits and inspections around the country.

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Il's (C) January 2010 guidance tour of the Hyangsan Hotel.  Also seen in attendance is KWP Deputy Department Director and architect Ma Won Chun (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Han Kwang Sang (annotated) attends Kim Jong Il’s (C) January 2010 guidance tour of the Hyangsan Hotel. Also seen in attendance is KWP Deputy Department Director and architect Ma Won Chun (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Han Kwang Sang (standing, 3rd R) attended late leader Kim Jong Il's meeting with PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, held  on 31 October 2011 (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK).

Han Kwang Sang (standing, 3rd R) attended late leader Kim Jong Il’s meeting with PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, held on 31 October 2011 (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK).

Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed official in a 21 July (Sunday) report about Han’s promotion who said “Han Kwang-sang, first vice director of the Finance and Accounting Department, who emerged with the appearance of Kim Jong Un, looks to have been promoted to director of the Finance and Accounting Department around May of last year.”  Yonhap also used the order in which officials who accompany the leader are called or listed in state media reports, noting that Han was previously called after Kim Kyong Ok, Senior Deputy (1st Vice) Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department.  A ROK government official told Yonhap that”if Han Kwang-sang is introduced before Kim Kyo’ng-ok, he is highly likely to be at the director level,” adding that “there is no first vice director who is introduced before Kim Kyo’ng-ok, first vice director of the party’s Organization and Guidance Department, who has more power than passable WPK directors.”

According to Yonhap‘s report notes that the Finance and Accounting Department has been without a formal director since the removal from office of Ri Pong Su following the 2004 death of his chief patron Ko Yong Hui, Kim Jong Il’s fourth wife and mother of current leader Kim Jong Il.  Ri, an alias, replaced Ro Myong Gun (Ro Myo’ng-kun) who had served as director of Finance and Accounting since the department was established on Kim Jong Il’s order in 1983.  Since Ri Pong Su’s dismissal, and given individual and organizational behavior in the DPRK’s political culture, Kim Jong Il himself probably assumed the directorship and ran the department through its deputy directors.  During 2003 to 2012, deputy directors (with different portfolios) of the Finance and Accounting Department have included Han Kwang Sang, Jon Il Chun, Kim Tong Un and Ri Kwang Gun (currently head of the Joint Venture and Investment Commission).  Kim Hyo was also a cadre in the department, as of one KJI’s main accountants, and his daughter Kim Ok, KJI’s widow as his 5th wife and technical secretary, had close ties to the department (and access to its safes).  The change in leadership of the Finance and Accounting Department may be tied to rumors that Kim Hyo and Kim Ok were recently dismissed from office.

The Semiannual Rumor that Kim Kyong Hui Knocks at Death’s Door

24 Jul
Kim Kyong Hui (NK Leadership Watch file photos)

Kim Kyong Hui (NK Leadership Watch file photos)

ROK media outlet Chosun Ilbo is floating a rumor that core DPRK elite Kim Kyong Hui (Kim Kyo’ng-hu’i) is “critically sick.”  The aunt of current leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and the sister of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) has not made any reported public appearances in approximately 80 days when she attended a concert by the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] with her nephew and other senior DPRK officials.  The concert was reported by DPRK state media on 12 May and Madame Kim’s prior observed appearance was her attendance at sports competitions between workers in the DPRK public health sector held on International Labor (May) Day on 1 May.  Aside from citing a series of ailments that Kim Kyong Hui is rumored to have, Chosun Ilbo only cites an anonymous report that refers to “an intelligence report” that she is severely ill and was being cared for by Kim Jong Un’s wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu).

cst_kkh201211Rumors Kim Kyong Hui being close to death, having a terminal illness, receiving medical treatment abroad or being in the throes of drug addiction have appeared in South Korean media for a number of years.  The last batch of gossip about the state of Madame Kim’s health appeared between August 2012 and October 2012 and caused a round of shallow, mindless speculation about how her death could affect leadership dynamics.  The latest rumors on Madame Kim’s health could be due to a number of other factors.  Her last observed appearance was prior to a long period of inspection tours outside of Pyongyang.  It also occurred as a number of central party secretaries and department directors also disappeared from DPRK state media, some of whom later resurfaced during Kim Jong Un’s visit to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War, reported on DPRK state media on 11 July.  Madame Kim’s absence may also be linked to the rumored establishment of the Department of the Economy in the Party Central Committee apparatus.  And yet, Pyongyang watchers assume that she’s even in the country.  Kim Kyong Hui has homes in Singapore and Europe to which she has previously traveled for extensive stays; she may be like other members of the Kim Family and commuting to Pyongyang when necessary.

Kim Kyong Hui, along with her husband Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek) is one of the most powerful members of the DPRK’s political leadership who was instrumental in grooming Kim Jong Un and ensuring support among DPRK elites and the extended Kim Family during his hereditary succession drive.  Madame Kim is currently a Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary, a Party Central Committee Department Director, a member of the KWP Political Bureau and either own or serves as a principal officer in several foreign trading corporations.

KJI Youngest Daughter Working as Events Manager for KJU?

22 Jul
Kim Yo Jong (L) attending her older brother Kim Jong Un's visit to the KPA Equestrian company (currently known as the Mirim Riding Club) in November 2012.  In the image on the right she is seen riding along side her aunt, KWP Secretary Kim Kyong Hui (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Kim Yo Jong (L) attending her older brother Kim Jong Un’s visit to the KPA Equestrian company (currently known as the Mirim Riding Club) in November 2012. In the image on the right she is seen riding along side her aunt, KWP Secretary Kim Kyong Hui (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng), the 26 year old sister of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n), is working in the National Defense Commission [NDC] as her older brother’s trip director.  According to several ROK media reports, Kim Yo Jong is currently serving as a “protocol director” managing Kim Jong Un’s itineraries and public appearances and that “she started her career early last year [2012].”  While Kim may have been assigned her new position in early 2012, she has been active in the central party since 2009.

Kim has been observed on numerous occasions since 2009, when she accompanied her father, late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), on guidance tours and inspections.  In 2010 she posed for a commemorative photograph with participants in the 3rd Party Conference, standing alongside KJI’s fifth wife Kim Ok which suggested that she was working in the Personal Secretariat.  In 2011 Kim Yo Jong was again observed at several of Kim Jong Il’s guidance tours, in the background with KJI’s personal aides and other Kim family members.

During events at her father’s funeral in December 2011, Kim was seen standing behind her brother as Kim Jong Un received foreign dignitaries.  She lined up with members of the leadership when they paid their respects at KJI’s casket. Twice during calling hours, she led core members of the DPRK leadership, standing in the center, in bowing at KJI’s remains; on one occasion she led Korean Workers’ Party Secretary and Director of the United Fron Kim Yang Gon, KWP Secretary for Machine-Building Industry Pak To Chun, KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs Kim P’yo’ng-hae and Gen. U Tong Chuk to KJI’s bier; on another occasion she led Kim Chang Son, Kim Kang Chol and other officials of KJI’s Personal Secretariat to the bier.  When a ceremony was held at Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun prior to the funeral service, Kim Yo Jong lined up with party elders Jon Pyong Ho, Choe Yong Rim and Kim Kuk Tae.

During 2012 and 2013 Kim Yo Jong has made several observed appearances, which ROK-based Pyongyang watchers link to her new role managing Kim Jong Un’s public appearances.  She was observed playfully jumping in the background during the opening of a park in Pyongyang in the spring of 2012.  In November the same year she attended Kim Jong Un’s visit to a Korean People’s Army equestrian training ground (now called the Mirim Riding Club).  Although her presence was not reported in DPRK state media, two images of her riding a horse, including one with her paternal aunt Kim Kyong Hui, were aired in the Korean Central Television news report of the visit.  Kim Yo Jong also was observed sitting with Kim Kyong Hui during a central party banquet in 2013.

Based on the description of her current role in support of her brother, Kim Yo Jong is working in a position similar to that of her older step-sister Kim So’l-song (Kim Sul Song).  For a number of years Kim So’l-song worked directly for Kim Jong Il, holding a Lt. Colonel’s rank in the Guard Command and managing KJI’s itineraries and some of the logistical and security arrangements around his public appearances.  After Kim Jong Il passed away, according to a well-placed DPRK source, Kim So’l-song moved into a more substantive managerial position (along with her husband) to support Kim Jong Un.  Due to Kim Yo Jong’s familial relationship to Kim Jong Un some ROK-based Pyongyang watchers have compared her with her aunt, Kim Kyong Hui (with whom Yo Jong has a close relationship) who began working at the age of 25 at the Korean Democratic Women’s Union in 1971.  Kim Yo Jong has other siblings and step-siblings who work around DPRK leadership circles including her oldest brother Kim Jong Chol (Kim Cho’ng-ch’o’l), who works in the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department (note the name of the editor of Korea), and her older step-brother Kim Jong Nam, who manages several trading corporations.

Kim Yo Jong is Kim Jong Il’s youngest child and was the third child from his marriage to Ko Yong Hui (1953-2004).  She was born in Pyongyang in 1987.  Around 1996 Kim left the DPRK with Kim Jong Un to attend school in Berne, Switzerland.  With her brother she resided at a DPRK-owned residence.  Like her brother, she was registered at Swiss schools under an alias and was said to be the child of the residence’s domestic staff.  She was looked after by a small staff of women whom school officials felt overprotected her (for example, when she had minor illnesses she was taken to a local hospital).  Aside from holiday visits to her home country, Kim Yo Jong remained in Berne through 2001.  After her maternal aunt Ko Yong Suk defected to the west in 2001, Kim Yo Jong was removed from school in Switzerland and returned to the DPRK.  She completed her secondary and university education in her home country.  In 2004 her mother, Ko Yong Hui, passed away due to a recurrence of breast cancer.  In addition to Korean, she speaks some English and German.  When she was in her late teens, Kim Yo Jong expressed an interest in politics and DPRK political culture to her father, something about which he proudly discussed with foreign interlocutors.  In 2008, she was a constant presence at Kim Jong Il’s hospital bedside after he suffered two strokes.  Kim Yo Jong was groomed for a role in the country’s political affairs by her paternal aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, and her husband Jang Song Taek, and she began working in the Party Central Committee in 2009.

Where did KJI Pass Away in a “State of Agitation”? (revised)

16 Jan
Kim Jong Il (front) at his last reported public appearance at the Kwangbok Market in December 2011.  This was the last image of the late leader when he was alive telecasted in DPRK state media before he died on 17 December 2011 (Photo:  Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Il (front) at his last reported public appearance at the Kwangbok Market in December 2011. This was the last image of the late leader when he was alive telecasted in DPRK state media before he died on 17 December 2011 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Chosun Ilbo, citing an anonymous source, reported in January that Kim Jong Il’s death on 17 December 2011 was precipitated by his anger after major leaks were discovered in a dam at the Hu’ich’o’n Power Station’s construction.  According to the unnamed source, “It wasn’t just a crack. The safety of the entire dam was in question.”  The leaks in the dam may have been due to rushed construction work, to complete the power station by April 2012, in time for celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late DPRK President and founder, Kim Il Sung (KJI’s father).  DPRK state media editorials and essays published in 2010 and 2011 termed “Hu’ich’o’n Speed” the new “Ch’o’llima Speed” and one piece described the power station as the “forefront of the drive for building a thriving nation.”  The power station was completed and opened during a ceremony held on 5 April 2012 and, as of October 2012, was supplying electricity to Pyongyang.

The railway route Kim Jong Il would utilized if, as Chosun Ilbo claims, he traveled from Pyongyang to the Hu'ich'o'n Power Station, then died en route (Photo: Google image; route drawn by M. Madden)

The railway route Kim Jong Il would have utilized if, as Chosun Ilbo claims, he traveled from Pyongyang to the Hu’ich’o’n Power Station, then died en route (Photo: Google image; route drawn by M. Madden)

A view of the railway stations from which KJI would traveled from Pyongyang to the Hu'ich'o'n Power Station in December 2011, showing his main railway station in Ryongsong District, near the residential compound there, or the Pyongyang Central Railway Station VIP area which he also utilized (Photo: Google image; route drawn by M. Madden)

A view of the railway stations from which KJI would traveled from Pyongyang to the Hu’ich’o’n Power Station in December 2011, showing his main railway station in Ryongsong District, near the residential compound there, or the Pyongyang Central Railway Station VIP area which he also utilized (Photo: Google image; route drawn by M. Madden)

According to Chosun Ilbo‘s unnamed source, “After being briefed about the leak, Kim Jong-il lambasted officials and ordered them to repair it.  He rushed to make an on-site inspection of the facility unable to contain his anger and died suddenly.”  The South Korean (ROK) daily also reported that “Stress about the trouble at Huichon was apparently the last straw after Kim learned that steel and textile manufacturing plants, also touted as key projects, had serious defects as well.”  Kim Jong Il’s last reported public appearance was his visit to the Kwangbok Department Store.  At the time of KJI’s demise, the DPRK was also conducting two major interactions with the US in Beijing, one with US Ambassador Glyn Davies and one with US Special Representative Robert King.  Also, in Beijing on an official visit at the time, was DPRK Minister of Electronic Industry Han Kwang Bok, who was later removed from office.  It is possible that reports to KJI about these interactions, in addition to problems with the Hu’ich’o’n Power Station, sent KJI’s delicate cardiovascular condition over the edge.  Alastair Gale wrote a fascinating essay about this report for Korea Realtime.  The policy and political circumstances under which Kim Jong Il passed away may have affected a number of personnel and political decisions and activities that Pyongyang watchers beheld during 2012.

Chosun Ilbo undercut its own story, writing that “Kim Jong-il was famous for his nocturnal lifestyle and normally got up around noon.”  This information is a bit dated.  For many years, KJI was a night owl.  In the early years of his succession drive he stayed up awaiting ‘phone calls from his father (who also worked in the wee hours).  Later on, as he assumed more operational power and policy control, Kim Jong Il would start completing his office work late at night.  If he was hosting a close aide party or “secret” banquet he’d slip away early and head for his office where he’d read reports, documents and policy proposals until the early hours of morning.  He would retire to his quarters for a few hours’ rest and then appear back at whatever office out of which he was operating during the late morning or early afternoon.  KJI’s kept this nocturnal schedule until around 2007.  In 2007 he began to experience headaches and trouble with his eyesight while working.  This foreshadowed the subsequent health problems that culminated in a transient ischemic attack [TIA] followed by a major stroke during July and August 2008.

Even before his strokes in 2008, KJI had curtailed his late night office work.  At dinner party in the PRC Embassy in Pyongyang in January 2008, KJI smiled and said, “I am physically so much weaker than when I was younger.  Lately, I’ve been feeling even weaker.  In my office I sometimes feel dizzy and I get light-headed.  I can’t drink and I am on a diet.  What is even worse is that I can’t stay up late any more.  I am terribly bored every day.”  Between rumors about KJI’s problems in 2007-2008, and his own admissions to family members and foreign visitors, Chinese officials became somewhat concerned and began to compile observations and information about the late leader’s health.  The Chinese got a better view on KJI’s health on 18 June 2008 when Kim Jong Il met with Xi Jinping for over an hour.  Although Chinese observers said KJI kept his eyes closed and nodded as the Chinese spoke, he was “quick to respond” and “logical and coherent.”  While the KJI-Xi meeting provided the PRC a first-hand assessment of KJI’s physical and mental faculties, Xi’s visit to Pyongyang was the first stop on a five-nation tour of Chinese allies and Xi’s first foreign excursion after his appointment as China’s Vice President in March 2008.

View of KJI's main base of operations showing his headquarters (the KWP CC #1 Office), his personal clinic and two of the residences where he alternated staying when he was in the city centre of Pyongyang.  KJI's residential compounds in Ryongsong District and Kangdong County, and those lcoated in the provinces, also had clinic facilities and on-call medical personnel (Photo: Google image)

View of KJI’s main base of operations showing his headquarters (the KWP CC #1 Office), his personal clinic and two of the residences where he alternated staying when he was in the city centre of Pyongyang. KJI’s residential compounds in Ryongsong District and Kangdong County, and those lcoated in the provinces, also had clinic facilities and on-call medical personnel (Photo: Google image)

In any event, after 2007, Kim Jong Il ceased working in his office at night.  From 2008 to 2011, according to several sources and accounts, Kim Jong Il generally woke up early in the morning.  When not staying in his suite at Ponghwa Clinic, he received a daily medical check up either at his personal clinic in the central party complex or from medical personnel (working under the Guard Command and Personal Secretariat) at whatever residence at which he was staying.  When not conducting guidance tours of economic sites, public facilities or military field inspections, KJI was usually in his office by 9 AM.  In the last months of his life, Kim Jong Il kept a very busy public schedule.  Stewing over a misleading report about infrastructure work one frigid Saturday morning, it is entirely likely KJI decided to board his private train and see for himself what was happening at Hu’ich’o’n Power Station.

The Sojong VIP area in Pot'onggang District in central Pyongyang where KJI's official wife Kim Yong Suk and other DPRK elites (including Cabinet members reside).  His daughter, Kim So'l-song  has been said to have a home in this complex (Photo: Google image)

The Sojong VIP area in Pot’onggang District in central Pyongyang where KJI’s official wife Kim Yong Suk and other DPRK elites (including Cabinet members reside). His daughter, Kim So’l-song has been said to have a home in this complex (Photo: Google image)

View of the Sojong VIP neighborhood and its proximity to Ponghwa Clinic (hospital) where KJI stayed or received medical treatment during 2008-2011 (Photo: Google image)

View of the Sojong VIP neighborhood and its proximity to Ponghwa Clinic (hospital) where KJI stayed or received medical treatment during 2008-2011 (Photo: Google image)

And yet, perhaps Kim Jong Il did not expire on the mystery train.  On 27 December 2012,

Japan’s Shukan Bushun obtained documents from a country with close ties to the DPRK leadership which claimed that Kim Jong Il died on 16 December 2011 (Friday) after taking a nap in the home of his beloved daughter and close aide Kim So’l-song (Kim Sul-song).  Some details from Shukan‘s documents were churning through the Pyongyang rumor mill in December 2011 and January 2012, after KJI’s demise.  A person who had some knowledge about KJI’s activities and the Kim family’s interactions told me that prior to his death KJI had worked in his office on 16 December 2011, and at that time there was tension between himself and his hereditary successor Kim Jong Un.  A Korean Workers’ Party senior official who was a member of KJI’s entourage said that

Just after 7:00 a.m. on 15 December, Kim Jong Il secretly visited the Pyongyang University of Music and Dance and then the Hana Music Information Center. Around 9:00 a.m., he then went to give on-site guidance at a large department store (in the heart of the commercial area in the Kwangbok District) jointly financed by North Korea and China.  Kim Jong Il walked all around the three-story department store, inspecting it. However, during his inspection, he would walk a little ways, a pained expression would cross his face, and he would stop; then he would walk a bit more and stop again. He repeated that numerous times. Also during the inspection, he pointed out the false facts given in the reports by the senior officials in charge. At those times he got fairly worked up.

After his three hour visit to the department store, KJI returned to his office in the central party complex where he attended to some office work.  According to a media report from December 2011, citing an unnamed source, KJI had been in his office reviewing and signing documents during 15 to 16 December 2011.  On 16 December, according Shukan‘s documents and the foreign officials it interviewed, KJI canceled a guidance tour and remained at one of the two residences in central Pyongyang which he was using at the time.  On the afternoon of 16 December KJI, accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards, a personal assistant and a physician, visited the residence of his daughter Kim So’l-song.  Kim So’l-song is the daughter of KJI’s official wife, Kim Yong Suk, and was a close aide to her father managing some of his itineraries and security arrangements.  So’l-song is a Lt. Colonel in the KPA and was tied directly to the Guard Command.

The last known places where Kim Jong Il was present during 15-16 December 2011 (Photo: Google image)

The last known places where Kim Jong Il was present during 15-16 December 2011 (Photo: Google image)

KJI’s visit to So’l-song’s house was not unusual.  According both to Shukan Bushun and other sources, when he did not have official dinner engagements, KJI was a regular visitor to his daughter’s house, spending time with his grandchildren, So’l-song’s husband, his sister Kim Kyong Hui and his fifth wife (or consort) Kim Ok.  On 16 December KJI had dinner with So’l-song, her husband and children.  During the meal KJI consumed an unusually large amount of alcohol and neglected to take the medication mitigating the liquor’s effects on his kidneys.  After dinner, Kim Jong Il said that he would return to his own residence, after taking an hour’s rest at So’l-so’ng’s house.  An hour after KJI retired to nap, his personal aide heard the chiming of a medical alert device which KJI wore on his wrist.  According to a DPRK official “When So’l-song and her son, who had been talking in the living room, and an aide to Kim Jong Il went to the bedroom, they found that Kim Jong Il had fainted, with foam around his mouth. Later, Kim Jong Il’s main physician confirmed his death.”  After KJI passed away the central party initiated an enquiry into the circumstances of KJI’s demise–the results of this enquiry may explain why some of KJI’s personal aides fell by the wayside during the funeral events in late December 2011 (one day they were attending to Kim Jong Un and other core elites, and the next day they were no where to be seen).

The intelligence report, the DPRK and foreign officials interviewed by Shukan Bushun claimed that during the last year and a half Kim Jong Il’s mental and physical health declined.  A In June 2011 in a conversation with someone who knows members of the family, my friend said that “the father was not doing well. . . mentally” and said that KJI had become depressed (which would explain why he spent a lot of his public schedule watching concerts and other performances).  This same source and friend also said that he did not expect KJI to live much longer.  Shukan Bushun reported that KJI spent his free time watching television and surfing the Internet.  According to Shukan “But he whiled away his free time with television or the Internet, he hardly did any exercise. He set aside 40 minutes for walking, but he would spend more time sitting on the benches along his walking course than actually walking.”

Shukan Bushun reports that the main source of KJI’s melancholy was feuding with his son and hereditary successor, Kim Jong Un, particularly over personnel appointments.  According to Shukan Kim Jong Un was eager for a “generational change” in the 1st and 2nd tier central leadership of the party, army and government to which Kim Jong Il angrily remonstrated, “Despite the fact that after I am gone, it will still not be too late to use your people, why are you in such a rush to try to handle things your way?”

Despite the circumstances around KJI’s death, Kim So’l-song has become a close aide to Jong Un.  She was promoted into the KWP Organization Guidance Department and her husband is believed to be a close advisor to KJU.

n.b. Materials in this positing derive from my short book The Last Days of the Ryo’ngdoja (currently undergoing its 2nd edit) and a feature in Japanese press from 2009

JST on Political Bureau Presidium?

8 Jan
Jang Song Taek with Kim Jong Un in November 2012 and with Kim Jong Il in October 2011 (Photos: KCNA and KCTV screengrab)

Jang Song Taek with Kim Jong Un in November 2012 and with Kim Jong Il in October 2011 (Photos: KCNA and KCTV screengrab)

Graphic showing members and alternates of the KWP Political Bureau, reflecting Mr. Jang's alleged appointment to the Presidium (standing committee) (NKLW Graphic by M. Madden)

Graphic showing members and alternates of the KWP Political Bureau, reflecting Mr. Jang’s alleged appointment to the Presidium (standing committee) (NKLW Graphic by M. Madden)

Kyunhyang Shinum reported on 3 January 2013 that Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek; Jang Song Thaek) has quietly ascended to the Presidium (standing committee) of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Political Bureau.  An unnamed diplomatic source (who cited someone in the DPRK) told Kyunghyang that “that Jang Song Thaek was promoted to the Political Bureau Presidium last year [2012].”  It is not certain whether JST was elected to the Presidium at reported Political Bureau meetings on 15 July 2012 or on 4 November 2012.  If JST ascended to the Presidium he has filled the vacancy left by former Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff Ri Yong Ho, who was removed from all party and military positions during the July Political Bureau meeting.  JST was elected an alternate (candidate member) of the Political Bureau at the 3rd Party Conference on 28 September 2010 and was moved up to being a full member of the Political Bureau at the 4th Party Conference on 11 April 2012.

Jang Song Taek has been instrumental in managing Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) relatively seamless transition.  A 26 December 2012 report in Kyodo News utilizing a Radiopress count of Kim Jong Un’s 149 reported public appearance, found that JST was reported to have attended 106 (71 %) of KJU’s events during the year.  Yonhap noted that in December 2012, made eight (8) reported public appearances, all of which were attended by Kim Jong Un.  According to Yonhap reported that this “indicates that Jang is now selectively attending so-called ‘No. 1 events’ that take place with Kim in attendance” and demonstrates his “‘raised’ status” in the leadership.

As evidence of Jang Song Taek’s elevated status in the KWP Political Bureau, Kyunghyang notes that since late November 2012 Jang’s name is listed or called among other Presidium Members in DPRK state media reporting.  At events in December 2012 and January 2013 attended by the Presidium’s three other members, JST is listed fourth in state media reports which implies his Presidium membership.

17 December 2012: KJI Demise Ku’msusan Visit

He was accompanied by Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Kyok Sik, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Kwak Pom Gi, Ju Kyu Chang, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam, Jo Yon Jun, Thae Jong Su and Choe Chun Sik, officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, the Cabinet and working people’s organizations, heroes, those who had been received by President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong ll and labor innovators.

21 December 2012: 1st U’nha-3/KMS-3 Launch Personnel Banquet

Also present there were senior party, state and army officials including Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Kang Sok Ju, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam, Jo Yon Jun and Choe Chun Sik.

24 December 2012: KJI Supreme Commander/KJS Birthday Ku’msusan Visit

He was accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sik, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, Ju Kyu Chang, Kim Kyong Ok, Choe Pu Il, Jo Kyong Chol, Pak Jong Chon, Ri Pyong Chol, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin and other officials of the Central Military Commission of the WPK and the NDC of the DPRK and commanding officers of the KPA.

30 December 2012: Photo Op with U’nha-3/KMS-3 Launch Personnel

Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, Jo Yon Jun, Choe Chun Sik, Ri Ung Won, department directors and first vice department directors of the WPK Central Committee.

30 December 2012: 2nd Banquet for U’nha-3/KMS-3 Launch Personnel

Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Gen. Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, Gen. Hyon Yong Chol, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Tae Bok, Pak To Chun, VMar Kim Yong Chun, Kang Sok Ju, VMar Hyon Chol Hae, Gen. Kim Won Hong, Gen. Ri Myong Su, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim P’yo’ng Hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop, Ro Tu Chol, Col. Gen. Ri Pyong Sam, Jo Yon Jun

1 January 2013: New Year’s Day Ku’msusan Visit

He was accompanied by Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, Kim Chang Sop, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun, who are leading officials of the party, state and the army, and officials of leadership organ of the Central Committee of the WPK.

Jang Song Taek at the Ku'mususan Memorial Palace of the Sun on 17 December 2012 (L and C) and on 24 December 2012 (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrabs and Rodong Sinmun)

Jang Song Taek at the Ku’mususan Memorial Palace of the Sun on 17 December 2012 (L and C) and on 24 December 2012 (R) (Photos: KCTV screengrabs and Rodong Sinmun)

Jang Song Taek (L) attends a New Year's reception in Pyongyang on 1 January 2013 with Kim Jong Un (4th L) and the PRC Ambassador to the DPRK (3rd L) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Jang Song Taek (L) attends a New Year’s reception in Pyongyang on 1 January 2013 with Kim Jong Un (4th L) and the PRC Ambassador to the DPRK (3rd L) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

After Ri Yong Ho’s removal from office, based on DPRK state media reporting, it appeared that Gen. Hyon Yong Chol assumed Ri’s Presidium membership along with heading the KPA General Staff.  Until late November 2012, Gen. Hyon’s name was listed or called before Jang Song Taek’s.  JST has not only displaced Gen. Hyon on the state media-based hierarchy, but also his wife Kim Kyong Hui (sister of Kim Jong Il and paternal aunt of Kim Jong Un).

30 August 2012: Photo-op with Youth Day Participants

Present there were Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Pak To Chun, Ri Yong Su and the chairman and vice-chairmen of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, the head of the delegation of Korean youth and students in Japan and the head of the delegation of the Youth Federation of Korean Nationals in China.

2 September 2012: Concert of KPA Brass Band

Among the audience were KPA Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the KPA General Political Bureau, KPA Vice Marshal Hyon Yong Chol, chief of the KPA General Staff, Jang Song Thaek, vice-chairman of the NDC, KPA Generals Choe Pu Il, Pak Jae Gyong and Kim Yong Chol, KPA Lieut. General Pak Jong Chon, Hwang Pyong So, vice department director of the C.C., the WPK, and KPA service personnel.

9 September 2012: Foundation Day Ku’msusan Visit

Kim Jong Un was accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Gak, Ri Yong Mu, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, O Kuk Ryol and other members of the Central Military Commission of the WPK and the National Defence Commission and staff members of the Supreme Command.

9 September 2012: KPA Song and Dance Ensemble Concert

Among the audience were Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Ki Nam, Pak To Chun, Kim Jong Gak, Yang Hyong Sop, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Mun Kyong Dok, Ro Tu Chol and officials of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Cabinet, ministries and national institutions and Pyongyangites.

10 September 2012: Ku’msusan KWP Anniversary Visit

The participants included Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Ri Yong Mu, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, O Kuk Ryol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Kyong Ok, Ri Pyong Chol, Kim Myong Sik, Yun Jong Rin, Pak Jong Chon and Kim Yong Chol.

29 October 2012: PY Soccer Finals

Among the spectators were Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Ju Kyu Chang, Mun Kyong Dok, officials of party and armed forces organs, ministries and national institutions and in the field of sports, sports persons, sports fans and people from all walks of life in Pyongyang

29 October 2012: KISMU Photo Op

Accompanying him in the photo session were Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Ri Yong Mu, Kim Yong Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, O Kuk Ryol, Ju Kyu Chang, Ryo Chun Sok, Jang Tong Un and other senior party and army officials.

7 November 2012: Shooting Contest and Volleyball Match

Among the spectators were senior officials of the party and army Choe Ryong Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Ri Yong Su, Pak Pong Ju, Han Kwang Sang and other members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission.

18 November 2012: Mothers’ Meeting Photo-op

Present there were Kim Kyong Hui, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Ki Nam, Pak To Chun, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Ro Tu Chol, Jo Yon Jun, Ri Yong Su, Ro Song Sil, chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Women’s Union of Korea, Jong Hui Ja, head of the delegation of the Korean Democratic Women’s Union in Japan, Chon Jae Ryon, head of the delegation of Korean women in China, and Jong Il Sim, head of the delegation of Korean women in Russia.

25 November 2012: Equestrian KPA Company

He was accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Kyong Hui, Jang Song Thaek, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak Pong Ju, Han Kwang Sang, Kim Kyong Ok, Ri Ryong Ha, Hwang Pyong So, Kim Pyong Ho, Choe Pu Il, Son Chol Ju, Pak Jae Gyong, Pak Jong Chon, Kim Yong Chol, Jon Chang Bok and other senior officials of the party and the army.

Kyunghyang also reported that a different unnamed source claimed that Jang Song Taek will be appointed DPRK Cabinet Premier (Prime Minister) when the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly convenes its 7th session (plenum), presumably in April 2013.  Kyunghyang reported that JST was originally set to replace current Premier Choe Yong Rim in September, following JST’s visit to China.  Since Kim Jong Un’s accession in January and the subsequent senior personnel changes resulting therefrom, Choe’s name has appeared on several Pyongyang watchers’ lists of party elders targeted for replacement, including a recent three-part essay on DPRK politics by Dr. Alexandre Mansourov (although Mansourov identified Jang Song Taek as a likely replacement for Kim Yong Nam, President of the SPA Presidium and the official head of state).

However, Choe (like other elder elites) has been useful both to Kim Jong Un and Jang Song Taek.  On 17 December 2012 Tokyo Shimbun, citing a Pyongyang-based Korean Workers’ Party source, reported about an unpublicized meeting of party officials.  At the meeting there was some deliberation as to whether Kim Jong Un (who attended) should visit cooperative farms.  Choe Yong Rim said, “The time in not yet ripe for Dear General Kim Jong Un to visit and meet with farmers because conditions have yet to be created for totally resolving the problems of the farming sector.  Though I am this old, I will sacrifice myself for you for the time being.  Please, do not worry.”  After Choe spoke, Kim Kyong Hui remarked that “Prime Minister Choe’s spirit of sacrifice is great!”  Gen. Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department said that “Comrade Choe Yong Rim will address the problems of the industry and farming sectors, while Comrade Jang Song Taek and I will handle issues in the military, so you (KJU) have nothing to worry about.”

DPRK Developing Master Economic Plan with German Advice

7 Jan

dpr_GFR_060112

German media reported on 4 January (Friday) that the DPRK is formulating a “master plan” to develop its economy and attract foreign investment with advice from German economists and attorneys.  According to Frankfurter Allgemeine, the DPRK is working on legislation to increase foreign investment.  One of the German economists involved in the consultations told the newspaper that “There is a master plan.  They want the opening [to occur] later this year.”  While the country continues to develop and plans to utilize Chinese-type Special Economic Zones in Raso’n and Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng/Wihwa Islands, it also wants to lure foreign investment in underdeveloped mineral resources from countries other than China.  The DPRK is studying the “Vietnamese blueprint whereby selected enterprises for investment are picked out,” according to one of the German experts involved.

Despite a general consensus within the DPRK’s central leadership, Korean People’s Army [KPA] units which control mines and export mineral resources to China are reluctant to surrender their lucrative mineral resources which could obstruct any potential legal changes or policy modifications.    Frankfurter Allgemeine reports that one of the leading DPRK elites promoting DPRK-German contacts and “seeking to attract expertise” is the head of Joint Venture and Investment Commission [JVIC].  Current JVIC Chairman Ri Kwang Kun is fluent in German, studied there in the 1970s and held a series of foreign trade  positions at the DPRK Embassy in Berlin in the 1980s and 1990s.  

Kim Jong Il visits Wo'nsan University of Agriculture (L) in April 2009, an event which Kim Jong Un attended as hereditary successor.  During this visit  Kim Jong Un posed for a commemorative photo with his two siblings and KWP officials (Photos: KCNA, KCTV-Yonhap)

Kim Jong Il visits Wo’nsan University of Agriculture (L) in April 2009, an event which Kim Jong Un attended as hereditary successor. During this visit Kim Jong Un posed for a commemorative photo (R) with his two siblings and KWP officials (Photos: KCNA, KCTV-Yonhap)

Germany has recently conducted several agricultural education programs which has included a study tour to The Netherlands and Germany  and an organic farming program that began in 2011 and will continue until 2014.  In late October German-Swiss Kempinski Hotels announced that it would manage the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang.    The GDR (former East Germany) financed and contributed to post-war construction in Hamhu’ng, South Hamgyo’ng Province during the 1950s and 1960s.  One of the most significant events during Kim Jong Un’s succession was his father, Kim Jong Il, visiting Wo’nsan University of Agriculture in April 2009. Part of the university’s campus is located at the old German Benedictine To’kwon Abbey (see images here and here).    During that visit, KJI introduced KJU to the university’s officials saying that “this is a very significant university where the stunning achievements of Great Leader Kim Il-sung and Mother Kim Jong-suk are exemplified.  Today I have come here with General Kim [Jong-un].  This is a glorious university which has served the Great Leader, Mother Kim Jong-suk, me and General Kim.”  Kim Jong Un posed for a commemorative photograph with his elder brother Kim Jong Chol, his younger sister Kim Yo Jong and Korean Workers’ Party Secretary Kim Ki Nam.  While KJU and his sibling studied in Switzerland they were educated in the German language.

Ceremony Opens Renovation of Ku’msusan Memorial Palace (updated)

17 Dec
Kim Jong Un (7th L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (6th L) pay their respects at Ku'msusan Memorial Palace on 17 December 2012.  Also seen in attendance are Choe Tae Bok (L), Kim Ki Nam (2nd L), Kim Kyong Hui (3rd L), Choe Yong Rim (4th L), Kim Yong Nam (5th L), Choe Ryong Hae (5th R), Jang Song Taek (4th R), Hyon Yong Chol (3rd R), Kim Kyok Sik (2nd R) and Kim Yong Chun (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (7th L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (6th L) pay their respects at Ku’msusan Memorial Palace on 17 December 2012. Also seen in attendance are Choe Tae Bok (L), Kim Ki Nam (2nd L), Kim Kyong Hui (3rd L), Choe Yong Rim (4th L), Kim Yong Nam (5th L), Choe Ryong Hae (5th R), Jang Song Taek (4th R), Hyon Yong Chol (3rd R), Kim Kyok Sik (2nd R) and Kim Yong Chun (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 17 December (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a ceremony opening the renovated Ku’msusan Memorial Palace.  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a national memorial service commemorating the first anniversary of the death of his father, the late leader Kim Jong Il.  At his visit to Ku’msusan KJU was joined by his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu).  Ri’s last reported public appearance was her attendance at a shooting contest and volleyball match, reported by state media on 7 November.  In images released of the ceremony at Ku’msusan, Ri appears to be pregnant.  Also in attendance at the ceremony were KJU’s aunt and KJI’s sister, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui and her husband National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek, as well as Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium President Kim Yong Nam, DPRK Premier Choe Yong Rim, Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department (bureau) Choe Ryong Hae, KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok, KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam, Chief of the KPA General Staff Hyon Yong Chol, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju, KWP Secrtary KWP Secretary Pak To Chun, 1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department Hyon Chol Hae, other members of the KWP Political Bureau, party leadership and senior government and military officials.  Interestingly, VMar Kim Jong Gak, recently dismissed as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, was listed by KCNA as in attendance at Ku’msusan (he can be seen in these grainy images).

Also attendance at the ceremony and inaugural visit to the renovated palace, according to KCNA, were “scientists, technicians, workers and officials who contributed to the successful launch of the second version of satellite Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3, overseas Koreans’ delegations and other overseas compatriots, those related to the revolutionary activities of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front, diplomatic envoys of various countries, representatives of international organizations and members of the military attaches corps here” along with officials of “ministries and national institutions, heroes and those who were received by President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, those who are related with their revolutionary activities, merited persons, and officers and men of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces. Also present there were officials in the scientific, educational, literature and art, public health and media fields, members of the bereaved families of revolutionary martyrs (and) working people.”

Kim Jong Un (foreground, R) greets members of the central leadership prior to a ceremony reopening the Ku'msusan Memorial Palace.  Also seen in attendance is his wife Ri Sol Ju (background, R) (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

Kim Jong Un (foreground, R) greets members of the central leadership prior to a ceremony reopening the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace. Also seen in attendance is his wife Ri Sol Ju (background, R) (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

KJU and and Ri Sol Ju arrived at the plaza in front of Ku’msusan where senior officials bowed as they greeted them.  KJU and the assembled central leadership lined up behind a ceremonial red tape which KCNA reported “representatives of KPA, workers, farmers and intellectuals cut off the tape” to open the palace.  After the ceremonial tape was cut, a series of personal aides to members of the leadership scrambled over to assist the DPRK elites in removing their coats prior to their entrance to the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.  Kim Jong Un, Ri Sol Ju and the assembled members of the leadership visited the hall to where a series of floral baskets from party, government and military power organizations were placed.  A ceremony was held in the plaza in front of the Ku’msusan Palace.

Representatives of different sectors of DPRK society who participated in the renovation work at Ku'msusan cut a ceremonial tape (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

Representatives of different sectors of DPRK society who participated in the renovation work at Ku’msusan cut a ceremonial tape (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

Aides assist members of the leadership, including Kim Kyong Hui (annotated), in removing their coats prior to entering the Ku'msusan Memorial Palace (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

Aides assist members of the leadership, including Kim Kyong Hui (annotated), in removing their coats prior to entering the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screengrab)

Choe Ryong Hae (4th L) delivers a speech during a ceremony opening the renovated Ku'msusan Memorial Palace, where the remains of the late leader Kim Jong were put on public display for the first time since his funeral in December 2011.  Also seen in attendance are Kim Jong Un (3rd R), Kim Yong Nam (2nd R) and Choe Yong Rim (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Choe Ryong Hae (4th L) delivers a speech during a ceremony opening the renovated Ku’msusan Memorial Palace, where the remains of the late leader Kim Jong were put on public display for the first time since his funeral in December 2011. Also seen in attendance are Kim Jong Un (3rd R), Kim Yong Nam (2nd R) and Choe Yong Rim (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Choe Ryong Hae delivered a speech in which, according to KCNA, he said “that the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun is the supreme temple of Juche which symbolizes the glorious revolutionary careers of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and their feats and which reflects the steady continuity given to the history of the sun.”  In his remarks, Choe also corroborated that KJI’s yacht was displayed along with other personal effects along with his personal railway carriage, photographs and “other historic relics and orders are on display at the palace with much care are symbolic of the noble lives of the great Generalissimos who dedicated their all to the prosperity of the country, the happiness of the people and the global independence throughout their revolutionary careers.”  According to the Associated Press, the display of KJI’s personal effects also included his sunglasses, a pair of his platform shows, his off-white park and “a MacBook Pro lay open on his desk.”   According to KCNA Choe also said “the inauguration of the palace will make it possible for the army and people of the DPRK to come to the sacred temple of the sun in joy or in sorrow, have dialogues with the great Generalissimos in their minds and deepen close bonds of a harmonious whole.”

Choe Ryong Hae speaks during a ceremony inaugurating the renovation of Ku'msusan Memorial Palace.  Standing beside Choe are Jang Song Taek (L) and Choe Chun Sik (R) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Choe Ryong Hae speaks during a ceremony inaugurating the renovation of Ku’msusan Memorial Palace. Standing beside Choe are Jang Song Taek (L) and Choe Chun Sik (R) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Members of the central leadership applaud during a ceremony inaugurating the renovated Ku'msusan Memorial Palace.  Seen in this image are KJI's sister, Kim Kyong Hui (L), KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam (2nd L), KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok (3rd L), KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (4th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (5th L) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Members of the central leadership applaud during a ceremony inaugurating the renovated Ku’msusan Memorial Palace. Seen in this image are KJI’s sister, Kim Kyong Hui (L), KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam (2nd L), KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok (3rd L), KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (4th L) and Yang Hyong Sop (5th L) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

KJU, Ri Sol Ju, the members of the central leadership, various DPRK elites and invited guests also visited a room containing the remains of his father, Kim Jong Il.  It was the first public display of KJI’s remains, which have undergone an extensive preservation process, since December 2011.  According to KCNA, KJU “made bows in humble reverence for Kim Jong Il, who turned the DPRK into a political and ideological power based on the single-minded unity, a world-level military power, a full-fledged nuclear weapons state and a space power and laid eternal foundations for the prosperity of the country.”  KJU also visited “the mourning hall, the room where the orders Kim Jong Il received are on display and the room where a car, electric car, ship and train used by him are on view, which were perfectly built by the intense loyalty and sense of moral obligation of the whole party, the entire army and people.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 611 other followers