Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
On 19 July 2010 KCNA reported that Kim Jong Il attended a performance given by the art squads of the Pyongyang Textile Mill and the Kim Jong Suk Silk Mill. NHK, citing Radio Press, reports that Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and other DPRK media outlets, have recycled the language from a 22 November 2009 report on KJI attending a similar performance used to describe the performance and KJI’s reaction to it. Factualization and hagiography already have a limited syntax and diction, but this recent KCNA report seems phoned in.
Here is KCNA’s report from 19 July 2010:
He acknowledged the enthusiastic cheers of the performers and audience and congratulated them on their successful performance. He expressed great satisfaction over the fact that the members of the above-said art squads presented a splendid performance flawless in ideological contents and artistry with art works of great cognitive and educational value as they truthfully represented their life. He extended high appreciation and thanks to them for their successful performance.
All the numbers put on the stage fully reflect the unshakable faith, revolutionary optimism and transparent spiritual world of the Korean working class pushing ahead the socialist cause of juche in the van while strictly adhering to the working class principle, undeterred by any storm and stress, he said, adding that the popular art now in full bloom among the workers of the mills serves as an example of new noble culture of the working class in the songun era based on the revolutionary soldier culture.
Here is KCNA’s report from 22 November 2009, at a performance by “the itinerant art squads of the Kim Jong Tae Electric Locomotive Complex, the Taean Heavy Machine Complex and the Tobacco Complex and the art circle of the Pyongyang Children’s Foodstuff Factory”:
The performers strikingly demonstrated the militant spirit of the heroic Korean workers who are dashing headlong toward the eminence of a thriving nation full of confidence in sure victory and optimism and well represented the proud picture of the working class’ new culture created in the Songun era.
Kim Jong Il expressed great satisfaction over the successful performance given by the workers of industrial establishments, a performance perfect in ideological contents and artistry with art works of weighty cognitive and educational significance truthfully reflecting their life.
He gave a high appreciation of the fact that the itinerant art squad and art circle members have briskly conducted mass art activities in the thick of seething reality to inspiringly encourage the party members and other workers to working new miracles and feats, and extended thanks to all the performers.
At the most recent performance he attended earlier this week, Kim Jong Il may have taken sides in the rumored dispute between Taepung International Investment Group and Korea International Company. The latter company is controlled by NDC Vice Chairman, Gen. O Kuk Ryol, who was alleged to be in competition with Taepung. Two of Taepung’s executives, Jang Song Taek and Kim Yang Gon, joined KJI at the textile mills’ concert:
Among the audience were Vice Marshal of the Korean People’s Army Kim Yong Chun, vice-chairman of the NDC of the DPRK and minister of the People’s Armed Forces, KPA General Kim Jong Gak, member of the NDC of the DPRK and first deputy director of the General Political Bureau of the KPA, KPA General Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the KPA, KPA General U Tong Chuk, member of the NDC of the DPRK, and other commanding officers of the army and armed forces organs, Jang Song Thaek, vice-chairman of the NDC of the DPRK and department director of the WPK Central Committee, Secretary Kim Ki-nam, Department Directors Kim Kyong Hui, Thae Jong Su and Kim Yang Gon and other leading officials of the WPK Central Committee and leading officials of the mills concerned and servicepersons.
Gen. Kim Jong Gak and Gen. Ri Yong Ho have been Pyongyang’s recent prominent patrons of the arts. They both presided at the unveiling ceremony of the statues of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Suk and KJI which was held in May of this year at the MPAF Revolutionary Museum. General Kim remarked, “It is the greatest privilege and luck of the KPA to hold in high esteem these bronze statues of our comrade supreme commanders in military uniforms.” On another note; could Gens. Kim and Ri find themselves elected to the KWP Central Military Committee at the Party Conference in September?
Meanwhile, Daily NK‘s Kim Yong Hun notices a lull in Kim Jong Un (Kim Chong-un/Kim Jong Eun) propaganda, including a report about the construction of a historic site in Ponghwa-ri, Kangdong County. While the refrains of “Footsteps” may not currently ring out, the Morningstar General has reportedly finalized plans for a four-day Party Conference in early September:
Citizens are also talking about the ‘historical site’ construction project in progress at Bonghwa-ri in Kangdong, a region northeast of Pyongyang.
Bonghwa-ri is revered as the site of Kim Hyong Jik-Kang Ban Suk’s anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, and also the location of the “Bonghwa revolutionary historical site,” which commemorates the childhood of Kim Il Sung. However, there has been a further historical site construction project underway at this location since the end of 2008.
The source commented, “Until now, North Korea has referred to this building as a ‘historical site’. Residents in Kangdong understand, though, that this historical site is the ‘birthplace of Youth Captain Kim’ or ‘villa of Youth Captain Kim’.”
“Historical sites for Comrade Kim Hyong Jik, Comrade Kang Ban Suk and our Supreme Leader (Kim Il Sung) already exist in Bonghwa-ri, and the historical site for the General (Kim Jong Il) is on Mt. Baekdu. Therefore, citizens believe that the building must be for Youth Captain Kim,” he added.
The construction of the main building with the center entrance to the historical site and also the building on the right side is allegedly nearing completion. However, construction apparently halted in early June, and the building on the left side has been left incomplete. Currently, a platoon of soldiers guards the construction site on rotation, according to the source.
Yet, the North Korean regime collected between 500 and 2,000 won from each household in Pyongyang for the purpose of replenishing its historical site construction funds at the end of last year, sources report. 100~200 won was also collected from each member of the Union of Democratic Women at the beginning of this year.