North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Hosts New Year’s Banquet

The Mokran House in the central party area in the central district of Pyongyang (Photo: Google image)

Kim Jong Un hosted a New Year’s banquet on 23 January (Monday) for members of the central leadership at the Mokran (Peony) House.  KCNA reports:

A state reception was given at the Mokran House on Monday evening to mark the lunar New Year.

The dear respected Kim Jong Un provided this significant reception, associated with benevolence of leader Kim Jong Il, on the lunar New Year’s Day when the Korean people are greeting with ardent yearning for the leader.

Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop and officials of party, armed forces and power bodies, social organizations, ministries and national institutions, men and officers of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, officials in the fields of science, education, culture and arts, public health and media and persons of merit.

Choe Thae Bok said in an address that thanks to Kim Jong Il’s noble love for the nation lunar New Year’s Day came to serve as an important occasion in instilling the Korean people with national pride and honor and patriotism.

The social traits of promoting excellent national traditions has been established in the country and the heyday of national culture in the era of Songun ushered in under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il who guided the work to develop the heritage of national culture as required by the demand of the era, the speaker stressed.

A woman (annotated) crosses a procession of the DPRK central leadership at the final reported visit to KJI's casket bier on 29 December 2011 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Japanese press reported late last week that Kim Jong Un married a woman who was born in 1981, making her two to three years older than Jong Un and his so-called “big sister” wife.  The young woman, a native of Cho’ngjin, North Hamgyo’ng, is the daughter of a college professor and nurse.  She attended KIS University, where she is currently enrolled in graduate coursework to become a party cadre.  Due to her academic background and her parents’ exemplary party life, she was selected in 2008 as Jong Un’s fiancee.  The engagement was initiated by Kim Kyong Hui and Jang Song Taek.  Mr. Jang  submitted the woman’s name and background to Kim Jong Il, who approved the marriage.

Korea Times reports:

New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un married a woman some two years his elder in an arrangement made by his powerful regents, a report said this week.

Japan’s Weekly Post quoted North Korean defectors as saying Kim married the woman, a graduate of the top Kim Il Sung University in 2010 after the matchmaking by his aunt and uncle, who are said to be guiding the young leader into power.

The report comes as the world continues to watch for clues about the little-known leader, who was thrust into the spotlight following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, last month.

Analysts say that Kim Kyong-hiu, the late ruler’s younger sister, and her husband Jang Song- thaek, along with other powerful military and party figures are leading the country by committee as Jong-un, thought to be no older than 30 consolidates his support.

According to the report, the young woman was chosen as her parents were loyal party members. The defectors also said she may have been picked for her resemblance to the young Kim’s mother, Ko Yong-hui and for her strong university performance.

Though often referred to as a mistress, Ko is thought to have been the love of the late Kim’s life and is the mother of his three youngest children including the heir. She is said to have been treated with “first lady” status in the North.

Meanwhile, on the way back to Pyongyang for the banquet, Jong Un visited a machine factory.  He was accompanied by Jang Song Taek, Party Secretary and NDC Member, Pak To Chun and a Korean People’s Army [KPA] retinue consisting of Party Central Military Commission members Gen. Kim Myong Kuk and Gen. Kim Won Hong as well as Gen. Pak Jae Gyong and Lt. Gen. Ri Tu Song.  KCNA reports:

Seeing new type modern machines produced by the plant, he acquainted himself in detail with their mechanism, performance and technical specifications.

He was very pleased that the plant has produced in a short period machines helpful to building a thriving nation.

New machines are not only very high in their performance but look better in shape as compared with those built in the past, he said, praising the officials, workers, scientists and technicians of the plant for producing Korean-style modern machines.

He gave instructions to the plant.

He called upon the plant to produce more modern machines suited to the specific conditions of the country on the basis of the achievements already made.

He underscored the need to work hard to increase the production of new machines and improve their quality.

It is more important to build a large quantity of machines in terms of indices and produce even a single machine effectively so that it may pay off in practice than to produce trial machines and boast them, he stressed.

It is very gratifying that the workers, scientists and technicians of the plant pledged themselves to build more modern machines true to the behests of leader Kim Jong Il, he noted, earnestly telling them that if they attain their high production goal, he will join them in visiting the leader who lies in state and making a report of victory and loyalty.

Going round various places of the plant, he acquainted himself in detail with the supply service for its employees. He showed warm loving care and benevolence for them.

There is no nothing to spare for the workers, scientists and technicians of the plant, he said, calling upon the officials to take good care of their living before production.

Making the rounds of the Kangsong Health Complex being built by the plant itself, he showed loving care for it.

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