North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Visits KPA Large Combined Unit

KPA Supreme Commander and acting chairman of the Party Central Military Commission Kim Jong Un (front, 3rd L) watches a performance during his inspection of KPA Large Combined Unit #324. Also in attendance are: Ri Yong Ho (seated, L); Kim Yong Chun (seated, 2nd L); Pak Jae Gyong (standing, 3rd R); Ro Hung Se (standing, 2nd L); and Ri Tu Song (standing, R) (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) was reported on 7 February to have visited Korean People’s Army [KPA] Large Combined Unit (taeyonhap pudae) #324.  His last reported public appearance was an inspection of KPA Navy Combined Unit (yonhap pudae) #597.  He was reported to have been accompanied by: VMar Ri Yong Ho, chief of the KPA General Staff; VMar Kim Yong Chun, Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission [NDC] and Minister of the People’s Armed Forces; Gen. Kim Myo’ng-kuk, Member of the Party Central Military Commission [CMC] and chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau; Gen. Pak Jae Gyong, director of the KPA General Propaganda Department and Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces; and from the KPA Supreme Command apparatus, Lt. Gen. Ri Tu Song (GPD) and Lt. Gen. Ro Hung Se (portfolio not clear).  In December 2011, one of the last performances Kim Jong Il watched was an art performance given by the KPA Large Combined Unit #324’s propaganda squad.

KCNA reports:

The first leg of his inspection was the command of Large Combined Unit 324 of the KPA. He had a photo taken with its service personnel.

Then he went round the room for education in the revolutionary history and the room devoted to its history.

Recollecting with deep emotion the undying feats performed by President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il which are recorded in the history of the unit, he said the unit grew to be a matchless elite unit under the wise leadership and meticulous care of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Making the rounds of an operation study room, shooting gallery and other places, he acquainted himself with the training of the commanding officers.

He expressed great satisfaction over the fact that the unit successfully built rooms for the study of military affairs so that its service personnel might deeply study and fully apply the Juche- based war methods of the WPK and is organizing effective trainings for boosting the ability to command operations.

He gave valuable instructions for preparing all the commanding officers to be competent ones capable of skillfully organizing and commanding any difficult combat duty in a modern war.

He inspected a forward command post of the unit. There he heard from the commander of the unit a report on the situation.

Standing before an operational map, he looked over the defence theatre and learned in detail about the topographical features and the distribution of forces.

Enjoying a bird’s-eye view of a city, villages, a lot of factories and fertile co-op fields, he said the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people are firmly guaranteed as the service personnel of the People’s Army are standing guard with arms over the socialist country which cannot be bartered for anything.

He set forth important tasks to be fulfilled to mercilessly wipe out the enemies in the forward areas along the defence line in view of their ceaseless moves to ignite a new war and thus safeguard the socialist country as firm as an iron wall.

He inspected Unit 156 of the KPA honored with the title of O Jung Hup-led Seventh Regiment. He had a photo session with its service personnel.

After hearing a report on the decision from the commander of the unit, he acquainted himself with its training.

The unit has a very important duty to perform, he said, putting forth important tasks to serve as guidelines for bolstering its combat capability.

Noting that the primary duty of a soldier is to undergo training well, he underscored the need for the unit to focus all efforts on intensifying training and prepare the service personnel of the unit as all-round fighters capable of performing themselves any combat duties satisfactorily, in particular.

He made the rounds of a library and other facilities for ideological and cultural education to learn in detail about how political work is conducted among its service personnel.

He went round a bedroom, education room and lecture rooms for training of a company under the unit’s direct control to take care of the living of its service personnel.

The appearance was another opportunity for Jong Un to recreate an iconic Mangyo’ngdae family picture:

Kim Jong Un points at a map during his inspection of KPA Large Combined Unit #324, reported in February 2012. Standing to the right is Kim Yong Chun (Photo: KCNA, Yonhap)

Kim Jong Il points at a map during an inspection of a KPA unit in September 1997, the month prior to his appointment as KWP General-Secretary and CMC Chairman. Standing to KJI's right in this image Kim Yong Chun (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Il presents watches to members of the Guard Command in July 2011. Seen in in attendance behind KJI are Kim Jong Un (L), Kim Ki Nam (2nd L), Ri Yong Ho (3rd L), Kim Jong Gak (rear, 3rd R) and employees of the Gifts Section of the Personal Secretariat (2nd R)

Kim Jong Un (L) filmed during an inspection of the KPA Navy Command headquarters in July 2011. In this image are SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop (2nd R, 2nd L); Kim Myo'ng-kuk (2nd R) and Ri Yong Ho (R)

Meanwhile, on the theme of emulation of (not-so) hidden heroes, DPRK media has released another focused on Kim family leadership.  The latest release highlights Kim Jong Il’s inspections of KPA units and his attendance of art performances by KPA personnel or their families during 2011.  KJI, along with Kim Jong Un and other members of the central leadership are shown visiting a series of history exhibitions, barracks, mess halls, as well as handing out gold Swiss watches to members of the Guard Command.

Kim Jong Il tours a plant affiliated with KPA Navy Combined Unit #597 in March 2011, accompanied by Admiral (Gen.) Jong Myong Do (R)

Kim Jong Il (5th L) stands for a commemorative photograph during his tour of a KPA Navy factory in March 2011. Seen in this image are: Col. Gen. O Chol San (L), political director of the KPA Navy; Jang Song Taek (2nd L); Gen. Jong Myong Do, commander of the KPA Navy (3rd L); Kim Jong Un (3rd R); Gen. Ri Myo'ng-su (R); and Gen. Hyon Chol Hae (R)

The films shows footage of KJI’s visit to a factory affiliated with KPA Navy Combined Unit #597 in March 2011.  No photographs of that visit were released; instead DPRK media showed an image of a visit made to the factory by Kim Il Sung.  The films also includes footage of KJI’s guidance to live fire exercises of KPA Unit #966, a subordinate unit of the Pyongyang Defense Command [PDC].  KJI’s guidance of the unit’s exercises was his final reported inspection of a KPA unit and occurred one week before he died.

It may not be legal to access the video below in some countries.

Kim Jong Il directs live fire exercises of KPA Unit #966, of the Pyongyang Defense Command. This was his final reported inspection or appearance at a KPA unit, reported 13 December 2011. Also seen in attendance are Kim Jong Un (C) and Gen. Kim Kyong Ok (R), senior deputy (1st vice) director of the party's Organization Guidance Department

A grab of of the film's closing image shows Kim Jong Il greeting spectators at the Worker-Peasants' Red Guard Parade on foundation day in 2011. Seen at the left is Jang Song Taek.

3 comments on “Kim Jong Un Visits KPA Large Combined Unit

  1. Pingback: Kim Jong Un Visits KPA Large Combined Unit | Korea Watch

  2. Pingback: Kim Jong Un Visits KPA Large Combined Unit | NK News

  3. Pingback: Weekly News Brief – 18 February 2012 « NORTH KOREA NEWS BRIEF

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February 2012