Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Il met with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone. In addition to the Lao officials accompanying Mr. Sayasone, joining the meeting and dinner reception from the DPRK were Chief of the KPA General Staff VMar Ri Yong Ho, CC KWP Secretary and Department Director Kim Yong Il, NDC Member and CC KWP Secretary Pak To Chun, NDC Member and CC KWP Department Director Ju Kyu Chang, and KJI’s hereditary successor, Kim Jong Un. The presence of Pak To Chun and Ju Kyu Chang suggest that part of the meeting may have included weapons sales or exchanges between the DPRK and Laos.
Saysone, who also heads his country’s ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, arrived in the DPRK on Wednesday, 21 September, after visiting China. During his visits, the DPRK central leadership held a reception for him where he interacted with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam (Kim Yo’ng-nam), CC KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok (Choe T’ae-pok) and others. KCNA reports:
Kim Yong Nam made a speech at the reception.
He said the Lao president’s DPRK visit marked a very important occasion in boosting the unity and friendly and cooperative relations between the two parties and peoples which were forged in the common struggle for socialism against imperialism.
He went on: The friendly and cooperative relations between the two parties and peoples provided by the leaders of the elder generation have grown stronger under the deep care of leader Kim Jong Il and Choummaly Sayasone.
The WPK and the people of the DPRK sincerely wished the LPRP and the people of Laos more admirable successes in their efforts for attaining the task and goals advanced at the 9th Congress of LPRP.
The WPK and the DPRK government will make positive efforts to constantly develop the friendship and cooperation with the LPRP and the people of Laos in the road towards socialism against imperialism.
Choummaly Sayasone, speaking next, highly estimated with pleasure that the fraternal Korean people are registering great achievements in the drive for achieving the prosperity of the socialist country and improving the standard of people’s living following the juche idea and the songun idea under the banner of self-reliance under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea headed by Kim Jong Il, holding President Kim Il Sung, the eternal leader.
He was convinced that the fraternal Korean people would make greater successes in building a thriving socialist nation and accomplishing the cause of national reunification on the principles of independence, peace and great national unity.
He expressed deep thanks to the fraternal party, government and people of the DPRK for having rendered precious cooperation to the struggle of the Lao people for national salvation in the past and their national defence and construction at present on behalf of the Lao party, state and people.
We will in the future, too, defend and strengthen the traditional friendly and cooperative relations, the good and precious heritages, which were provided by Kaysone Phomvihane, president of the Lao people and Kim Il Sung, the great leader of the Korean people, and have been carried and expanded by the leaders of the new generation, he stressed.
Sayasone’s arrival in the DPRK was greeted with editorials in Rodong Sinmun and Minju Choson. KCNA also published a biographical profile on Sayasone, which in part read:
He took part in revolution in 1954 and joined the Lao People’s Party, the predecessor of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, in 1955.
He received military and politico-theoretical education in Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.
He was a political commissar of a battalion and battalion commander, chief of staff and commander of the force stationed in Xiengkhouang area, the liberation area from 1962 to 1975.
He worked as director of the Combat Department of the Lao Ministry of Defence and deputy chief of the General Staff of the Lao People’s Army and vice-minister of Defence from 1976.
He was appointed as first vice-minister of Defence in 1986 and minister of Defence in August of 1991.
He was elected vice-president of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2001.
Sayasone led one of several delegations visiting Pyongyang this week. Sayasone arrived on the same day as a delegation of ROK religious leaders. On 20 September a number of foreign academics (primarily from China and Russia) arrived in the DPRK for a symposium held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Kim Il Sung University. A delegation from The Netherlands led by Ambassador Paul Alex Mankveld arrived on 21 September. Mankveld attended an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of NL-DPRK diplomatic relations.