Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
In a key event marking the birthday of the recently deceased DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Il, a bronze statue was unveiled on Tuesday (14 February) at Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang.
A variety of events commemorating what is officially Kim Jong Il’s 70th birthday have been held throughout the DPRK. More events will occur on or around 16 February (Thursday). According to the official chronicles of the Korean Workers’ Party History Institute, KJI was born on 16 February 1942 in a log cabin near Mt. Paektu on the DPRK-China border while other accounts said that KJI was born in February 1941 at a Russian military base Khabarovsk where his parents were stationed as members of the 88th Brigade under the Soviet Far East Command. Since KJI’s death in 2011, the country has commemorated his birthday as the “Day of the Shining Star.”
In 2011 KJI joined central party, security and government leaders at a banquet. In 2010 KJI attended to the reopening of the 8 February Vinalon Complex in South Hamgyo’ng, signed (or assented to) execution orders and personally informed the then-Cabinet Premier of his eventual dismissal. A documentary film on KJI’s activities in that month later revealed that during February 2010 he also attended a synchronized swimming exhibition at Ch’angkwang Health Complex in central Pyongyang. In February 2009, KJI was preoccupied with changing his military leadership and during that month Gen. O Kuk Ryol was appointed Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission [NDC], Kim Yong Chun was appointed Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Ri Yong Ho was appointed chief of the General Staff. Also, according to several sources and accounts, on the sidelines of private family festivities Jang Song Taek asked KJI’s three sons for their views on succession.
Daily NK, citing the rumor mill of the country’s forex workers, considers the possibility that a complete list of KJI’s “behests” from 8 October 2011 will be publicized. The only reported KJI behest and bequest the DPRK has released was the appointment of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) as Korean People’s Army [KPA] Supreme Commander, which occurred during a KWP Political Bureau meeting on 30 December. DNK analyzes that a public reading of the late center’s behests may solidify the political power of Jang Song Taek and Kim Kyong Hui:
One such person, whom Daily NK met in Shenyang, explained, “They say that the General’s ‘last instructions’ will be publicly released on Gwangmyungsung Day,” adding, “I am sure it will say that ‘the people must be one with comrade Kim Jong Eun and open the doors to the strong and prosperous nation’.”
“The first priority for the ‘last instructions’ will be to gather around comrade Kim Jong Eun with one heart; second, to build a strong and prosperous nation, and last the reunification of the fatherland,” the source went on. “As in the past when the Suryeong passed away, the ‘leadership of the last instructions’ will carry on for some time.”
However, it is the role of Jang Sung Taek that is attracting more attention than whether or not the last instructions are made public, the source claimed.
“If the General’s ‘last instructions’ are revealed this time, Vice Chairman Jan Sung Taek’s position will become much stronger,” he said. “I am sure the main point of the contents of the General’s ‘last instructions’ is, ultimately, to support comrade Kim Jong Eun enthusiastically, but who in the Republic will do that expect Jang?”
The main foreign currency earning lines in China and Malaysia are all stocked with Jang Sung Taek’s people, sources claim. While North Korea has been solidifying Kim Jong Eun’s power domestically, among front line foreign currency earners it is said that the competition is actually over loyalty to Jang.
Such people are very powerful, the source claimed, explaining, “We have to go back to North Korea every six months to a year for ideological education if we leave the country for two years, but those under Jang Sung Taek have the authority to extend the period without return to two or three years.”
“There is even a growing trend among workers (under Jang Sung Taek) to bring their children with them when they go abroad”. It has been long practice for the North Korean regime to keep the children of diplomats and workers in North Korea, to ensure ongoing loyalty.
Coincidentally, it is not only Jang himself who wields great power in North Korea. His late older brother Jang Sung Woo’s second son Jang Yong Chul is the current North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia, a position he has held since 2010, and his first son is working for the Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation. His son-in-law Jeon Young Jin was appointed North Korean Ambassador to Cuba on the 4th of last month.
The festivities for KJI’s birthday got underway late last week as the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea visited revolutionary historical sites which culminated in a loyalty oath ceremony near KJI’s official birthplace near Mt. Paektu. KCNA reports:
They laid floral baskets and flowers before the statues of President Kim Il Sung at the Pochonbo Revolutionary Battle Site and on the shore of Lake Samji and the mosaic depicting the three commanders of Mt. Paektu in the Paektusan secret camp and paid high tribute to them.
They went round the then command post of the Pochonbo battle, the police post of the Japanese imperialists, the sub-county office, the Samjiyon grand monument, etc.
They held an oath-taking meeting in front of Kim Jong Il’s old home in the Paektusan secret camp.
They toured the Samjiyon county-seat, which has undergone dramatic change, and conducted various political and cultural activities during the period.
On 9 February (Thursday), Party Secretary of Propaganda (Publicity) and Agitation Kim Ki Nam presided over two exhibition openings. At Korea Stamp Exhibition, Kim launched a show of past and current commemorative stamps about KJI:
The Korean stamp show for commemorating the 70th birth anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il was opened with due ceremony at the Korean Stamp Exhibition today.
Seen at the exhibition are a stamp of the image of Kim Jong Il published for the first time in 1987 and stamps of the undying revolutionary exploits he performed in leading the Party, army and people along the road of sure victory.
There are also various stamps presented by Korean philatelists.
Present at the ceremony were Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea C.C., Sim Chol Ho, minister of Post and Telecommunications, officials concerned, creators, philatelists and working people.
Present on invitation were officials of foreign embassies here in charge of cultural and friendly relations.
At the end of the ceremony the participants went round the displayed stamps.
At the People’s Palace of Culture, Kim launched the opening of an exhibition of photographs of KJI:
A national photo exhibition opened in the DPRK to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il.
On display in its venue are at least 300 photos of the revolutionary career of Kim Jong Il.
Among them are pictures titled “The great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il declaring the programme of modeling the whole society on the juche idea”, “The great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il and the dear respected Kim Jong Un guiding the fire striking exercises of large combined unit of the Korean People’s Army” and “Kwangmyongsong-2 soaring up to fully display the national power of Songun Korea”.
“The dear respected Kim Jong Un participating in the farewell-bidding ceremony together with senior officials of party, state and armed forces organs,” “Kim Il Sung Square full of lamentations calling for the great General” and other pictures showing the days the greatest sorrow when people were in tears of blood at an unexpected loss of the father of the nation.
On Friday (10 February) the Democratic Women’s Union of Korea held a loyalty oath event at the Oun Revolutionary Site in suburban Pyongyang. Back in the city, KWP Secretary Choe Ryo’ng-hae presided over a loyalty oath event held by the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea:
A meeting of agricultural workers took place in the plaza of the Party Founding Memorial Tower on Friday to pledge to accomplish the revolutionary cause of juche under the leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un true to the behests of leader Kim Jong Il.
At the meeting a reporter and speakers said Kim Jong Il performed exploits before the country, the people, the era and history by developing and enriching the revolutionary idea of President Kim Il Sung and leading the Korean revolution along the path of victory.
The revolutionary exploits of Kim Jong Il would shine forever as he created the new history of perpetuating the memory of the President and turned the socialist country into a political, ideological and military power with his original songun politics, they stressed.
They vowed to keep on the drive for the great and fresh victory of the Juche revolution. A poem of pledge was read out there.
Also the same day, a declamation contest was held as the People’s Palace of Culture, attended by Choe Tae Bok and Kim Ki Nam:
In an oratory titled “The great motto” Choe Myong Ju, department director of the Ministry of Food Procurement and Administration, impressively told the story that Kim Jong Il autographed a paper on supplying the people with fish on December 16 last year.
Pak Yong Sun, section chief of the Hoeyang County Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Kangwon Province, said in an excited tone that Kim Jong Il glorified his great life as a life that braved snowstorm.
In an oratory titled “Sun” Han Chong Su, vice-minister of Light Industry, praised Kim Jong Il as the great sun of mankind who recorded legends about loving care for the people with rare leadership ability and noble virtue.
Speakers included Jong Myong Ok, manageress of Pyongyang Department Store No. 1, Kim Ju Song, department director of Railways, and Choe Myong Ok, deputy secretary of the Primary Committee of the WPK of Changwang Health Complex. In their oratories made under the respective titled “Promise”, “The General and his journeys to mix with people,” “Road to the front and Changgwang Health Complex” they impressively said there were too many stories to tell about Kim Jong Il’s total dedication to the people.
On Saturday (11 February) SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam and DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim attended a screening of the latest Kim Family documentary film With Desire of the Leader:
The film deals with the facts that leader Kim Jong Il made an endless journey of patriotic devoted service to realize the desire of President Kim Il Sung for building a thriving nation.
It tells about the undying leadership feats of the peerlessly great man, who put the dignity and strength of songun Korea on the highest level with his iron will and superhuman energies while instilling into the mind of the army and people the firm faith that the President is always with us.
Through the film its viewers hardened their belief that Kim Jong Il is the peerlessly illustrious songun commander and patriot and benevolent father who had spent all his life on the train of field guidance for the people’s happiness, enduring his fatigue.
On 12 February (Sunday), members of the central leadership converged on KJI’s birthplace for a large loyalty oath rally. This has typically been a major event during KJI birthday week. The Mt. Paketu-based event that was held in 2010 was a kind of debut for VMar Ri Yong Ho and, to a lesser extent, Gen. Kim Jong Gak, presiding over a significant national event. KCNA reports:
A meeting to vow loyalty took place in the secret camp in Mt. Paektu, a holy land of revolution, on Sunday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il, the Day of the Shining Star, the greatest holiday of the nation.
Attending the meeting were Ri Yong Ho, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Kim Jong Gak, Pak To Chun, Choe Ryong Hae and officials of Party and armed forces organs and working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces and people from all walks of life.
The participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of Kim Jong Il.
Speeches were made there.
Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea and chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, said that the birth of Kim Jong Il was the great jubilee and fortune of the nation which greeted the peerlessly songun sun and a worldwide event which promised the bright future of progressive mankind aspiring after independence.
Kim Jong Il made tireless efforts for increasing the military capability with the steadfast faith that the army guarantees the prosperity of the country and happiness of its people, he noted.
Kim Ki Nam, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the C.C., the Workers’ Party of Korea, said that thanks to the wise guidance of Kim Jong Il, the WPK has developed into an invincible party and genuine mother party and guiding force of the songun politics and it is shedding its rays as a dignified and sovereign party of President Kim Il Sung.
He stressed the need to cherish the invariable faith that Kim Jong Il will always be with us and uphold him in high esteem for all ages and fully and unconditionally implement his last instructions.
Ri Yong Chol, first secretary of the C.C., the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, said the youth marking the significant Day of the Shining Star in the sacred land of the revolution where the great sun of songun was born miss Kim Jong Il very much.
He stressed the need for all members of the young vanguard to firmly unite around the dear respected Kim Jong Un and accomplish the cause of the Juche revolution started in Mt. Paektu, true to the last instructions of Kim Jong Il.
Fireworks were displayed in the sky above the secret camp to present fantastic scenery in the deep forest at night. The participants broke into loud shouts of “hurrah!” watching them.