Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
With DPRK media claiming that he directed the May 2009 underground nuclear test, Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was reported to have visited two Korean People’s Army [KPA] units. Kim Jong Un’s last reported public appearance was his visit to KPA Unit #169 in South Hwanghae Province. KCNA reports on KJU’s visit to KPA Air Force [KPAF] #354:
After acquainting himself with the unit’s combat duty, he guided the flight training of pilots.
After watching the courageous training which demonstrated the might of the air force, he praised the pilots for their good performance. He was greatly satisfied with a very high level of control of warplanes such as taking off and landing and bold and skillful movement. He was very pleased that all the pilots have been prepared as able pilots of fighters.
He repeatedly praised the pilots for their success in performing training duties before taking a photo taken with them.
He looked round a flight hall, bedroom of pilots, mess hall, soldiers’ hall and other places of the unit to take warm care of the training and living of the pilots.
After watching pilots undergo training on the table with deep attention, he expressed satisfaction over the fact that they are using their brains, thinking and putting everything into practice so that they may win any battle by skillfully using Korean-style fighting methods and tactics in keeping with the trend of the changed warfare mode and combat action regulations of the enemies and the trend of the development of arms and equipment.
After being informed that the pilots are flying to devotedly defend the headquarters of the revolution awake or asleep, singing the song that the sun is over the wings of their planes and Pyongyang is beneath them, he said that Hero Kil Yong Jo left a very good song. He told all pilots to cherish his soul.
While watching sketches done by soldiers, he said that their skills are as good as the professional painters’ and the army has many talents and reserve painters.
At the pilots’ bedroom visited by leader Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un sat on a bed without any ceremony and kindly asked if they did not feel any inconvenience on their beds.
At the mess hall, he underscored the need to provide good diet to the pilots as their mental and physical burden is heavy, saying that for them there is nothing to spare.
Kim Jong Un who visited the unit, carrying with him a freshwater fish, weighing more than 60 kg, presented by people, showed such loving care for pilots as teaching how to cook it for them to taste it.
He looked round a company under the unit to take deep care of the servicemen’s life.
He was pleased with the warm bedroom. At an educational room he listened to the song sung by the company leader and political instructor by using DVD and sent applause to them.
He called at a wash-cum-bath house and learned about where water was coming from and personally took its temperature.
Before leaving the company, he asked the company leader and political instructor to take good care of the soldiers’ living like their eldest brothers and sisters and revolutionary comrades-in-arms, adding he would like to leave the soldiers to them.
Shortly after this visit, Jong Un was reported to have visited KPA Unit #3870. KCNA reports:
He learned about the unit’s performance of duty and training.
Praising the unit for having prepared all its service personnel as a-match-for-a hundred combatants through the intensified training in hearty response to the Party’s slogan “Training Is Also a Battle!” he highly appreciated their militant spirit of training, the spirit of thinking of preparations for combat only awake or asleep.
He set forth the tasks to be carried out to bolster the combat capability of the unit.
He looked round the soldiers’ hall, mess hall and various other places to take deep care of their living.
He dropped in at a library and stressed the need to send more must books to the soldiers. Once they finish their service in the army, they should be let to acquire the same ample knowledge as college or university graduates’, he noted, underscoring the need to prepare all service personnel as Songun revolutionary fighters equipped with the spirit of devotedly defending the socialist homeland.
He praised the unit for splendidly building the soldiers’ hall and constructing its facade well.
He personally tasted bean paste produced by the unit itself and learned about the use of the agro-stock farm and the general processing center built by it and its other supply service facilities. He repeatedly praised its commanding officers for doing a lot of work by fully displaying the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance.
Walking the compound of the barracks, he said the service personnel of the unit successfully spruced up the barracks and areas around it as required by the Songun era and as befitting the creators of the revolutionary soldier culture in the Songun era.
This unit set an example not only in combat and political training but in all aspects including command and management of the unit and its supply service, he noted, adding all the service personnel glorifying their precious youth after turning out to defend the country are excellent revolutionaries and precious treasures of the country.
Noting that such traits of revolutionary comradeship whereby commanding officers love their soldiers like their real younger brothers while the latter follow the former like their eldest brothers and sisters and help and lead each other along are in fuller bloom, he said that this is the proud tradition and traits of the heroic KPA, the army of the party and the revolution.
According to KCNA, at both of these visits KJU was accompanied by Party Central Military Commission members Gen. Kim Myong Kuk (Chief, General Staff Operations Bureau) and Gen. Kim Won Hong (Chief, Military Security Command), as well as Lt. Gen. Ri Tu Song. VMar Ri Yong Ho and Gen. Pak Jae Gyong, who visited KPA Unit #169 with KJU seemed to have returned to Pyongyang. Interestingly on his visit to the air force unit, Jong Un was not reported to have been accompanied by Gen. Ri Pyong Chol, a CMC member and commander of the Air Force.
Finally, KCNA reported KJU’s visits on 20 January 2012. Remarks attributed to Jong Un in both news items focus on family, specifically siblings. At his visit to Unit #3870 Jong Un requests the commanders “to take good care of the soldiers’ living like their eldest brothers and sisters and revolutionary comrades-in-arms” and at his visit to the air force unit Jong Un talks about how commanders “love their soldiers like their real younger brothers while the latter follow the former like their eldest brothers and sisters and help and lead each other along are in fuller bloom.” Since the death of Kim Jong Il, DPRK media has emphasized the concept that DPRK citizens live as “a big socialist family.” However, both the date of the news reports and the references to “elder” and younger siblings may be a response to the 20 January release of a book of exchanges between a Japanese journalist and Jong Un’s oldest brother**, Kim Jong Nam.
**Although Jong Nam and Jong Un are technically half or step-brothers, in interviews and other interactions Jong Nam has consistently referred to Jong Un as “my brother”