North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Visits Panmunjom

Kim Jong Un (2nd R) looks through binoculars across the DMZ into South Korea during an inspection of sites in and around P'anmunjo'm. Also in attendance is Gen. Pak Jae Gyong (L) and Gen. Kim Yong Chol (R). Since 2009 Gen. Kim has managed military intelligence operations against South Korea. Closely linked to Kim Jong Un's succession, he was promoted to 4-star general in February 2012. (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 4 March (Sunday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspected P’anmunjo’m, a DPRK settlement near the demilitarized zone on the DPRK-ROK border.  According to KCNA Kim Jong Un told service personnel stationed there to “maintain the maximum alertness as they are standing in confrontation with the enemies at all times.”  Attending to his visit were Gen. Pak Jae Gyong, Gen. Kim Yong Chol and Col. Gen. Jo Kyong Chol.

Kim Jong Un (3rd L) visiting P'anmunjo'm. Also in this image are: Kim Yang Gon (5th L), Pak Pong Ju (6th L), Gen. Pak Jae Gyong (7th L), Kang Sok Ju (4th R), Jang Song Taek (3rd R) and Kim Ki Nam (2nd R) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Kim Jong Un (1st row, C) poses for a commemorative photograph near a monument of the autograph of Kim Il Sung, his grandfather, the late DPRK President and country founder. Also seen in this image are: Mun Kyong Dok (1st row, L), Choe Ryo'ng-hae (1st row, 2nd L), Pak To Chun (1st row, 3rd L), Jang Song Taek (1st row, 4th L), Kim Yang Gon (1st row, 2nd R), Kim Ki Nam (1st row, 3rd R), Ri Jae Il (2nd Row, 2nd L), Han Kwang Sang (2nd row, 5th L) Pak Pong Ju (2nd row, C), Gen. Kim Yong Chol (2nd row, 6th R), Gen. Pak Jae Gyong (2nd row 5th R), Col. Gen. Jo Kyong Chol (2nd row, 4th R) and Hwang Pyong So (2nd row, R) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Also attendance were Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department), Jang Song Taek, Kang Sok Ju (DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of Propaganda), Pak To Chun (KWP Secretary of Military Industries), Mun Kyong Dok (KWP Secretary), Choe Ryo’ng-hae (KWP Secretary), Ri Jae Il (KWP Propaganda Senior Deputy Director), Hwang Pyong So (KWP Organization Guidance Deputy Director), Pak Pong Ju (KWP Light Industries Deputy Director) and Han Kwang Sang (KWP Finance and Accounting Deputy Director).

KCNA reports:

He was greeted on the spot by commanding officers of the unit standing guard over Panmunjom.

After receiving a report on the unit’s performance of combat duty, he went to the dangerous forefront.

He first visited the Monument to President Kim Il Sung’s Signature standing sublimely at Panmunjom.

He had a photo taken with the officials accompanying him before the monument.

Then he went up to the balcony of the Phanmun Pavilion to learn in detail about the enemy movements.

He expressed great satisfaction over the fact that all the soldiers on the outpost duty were following every move of the enemies with vigilance and performing their combat duties in a responsible manner with strong class resolution to defend the socialist country at the cost of their lives. He highly appreciated their feats.

He told the soldiers on the outpost duty at Panmunjom to always maintain the maximum alertness as they are standing in confrontation with the enemies at all times.

He met those soldiers who had finished their combat duties and had a photo taken with them.

He went round several places of Panmunjom including the Phanmun Pavilion, the Thongil House, the conference room of the armistice talks and the hall where the armistice agreement was signed.

He stressed the need to preserve and manage well the conference room of the armistice talks and the hall where the armistice agreement was signed associated with the history of the great Fatherland Liberation War in which the KPA defeated the imperialist allied forces and the Phanmun Pavilion and the Thongil House which reflect the will of the Korean people to reunify the country in order to show them to the generations to come who will live in the reunified country.

Underlining the need to glorify generation after generation the feats heroic Korea performed by winning victory in the war fought to beat back the U.S.-led imperialist allied forces, startling the world, he emphasized that if a fight occurs in the future, the army and people of the DPRK will force the enemies to sign a paper of surrender, not simply putting signature on the armistice agreement, their knees bent.

Going round a bedroom, mess hall and gymnasium of the soldiers standing guard over Panmunjom and other places, he learned in detail about their service and life.

He put forth the important tasks which would serve as guidelines for increasing the combat capability of the unit.

The Korean people can sleep well and he feels reassured as the soldiers on the outpost duty are defending the gate of the country as firm as an iron wall, he said, adding that he fully believes in them.

He gave them a pair of binoculars, an automatic rifle and a machine gun as souvenirs and had a photo session with them.

The late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il inspects an area near P'anmunjo'm on 24 November 1996, five days after the DPRK closed its liaison office there. Seen in this image are the late VMar Jo Myong Rok (R), Jang Song Taek (2nd R) and Gen. Hyon Chol Hae (4th R) (KCNA file photo)

Service members of the KPA gather for a mass rally on Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang, broadcasted on state television on Sunday, 4 March 2012. (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

Chief of the Korean People's Army General Staff, VMar Ri Yong Ho, delivers the keynote speech during a mass rally held in Pyongyang on 4 March 2012. Also on the rostrum in this image are: KWP Secretaries Mun Kyong Dok (2nd L) and Kim Yang Gon (3rd L); NDC Vice Chairmen Gen. O Kuk Ryol (4th L), VMar Ri Yong Mu (5th L) and VMar Kim Yong Chun (6th L); DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim (7th L); and, KWP Secretaries Kim Ki Nam (8th L) and Choe Tae Bok (9th L) (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un’s visit occurred before Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel and DPRK citizens gathered for a mass rally in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.  Choe Sang Hun writes in the New York Times:

Such rhetoric notwithstanding, North  Korea struck a deal last week with its sworn enemy, the United States, agreeing to suspend its nuclear weapons tests and uranium enrichment and allow international inspectors to monitor activities at its main nuclear complex. In return, North Korea will receive 240,000 tons of food aid from Washington.

But the country spurned a repeated call by Washington to improve ties with South  Korea, and has instead kept up its criticism of the South, where elections later this year will serve as a referendum on President Lee Myung-bak’s  policies toward the North.

Over the weekend, North Korea escalated its militaristic rhetoric and  threats, criticizing a joint American-South  Korean military drill. It  also seized on a poster in a South  Korean military barracks that was  leaked last week. That poster said: “Let’s beat  Kim Jong-il to death! Let’s strike Kim  Jong-un to death!”

On Sunday, North Korean television  broadcast a rally of 150,000 people  in the capital of Pyongyang vowing to punish  the South for insulting their leader.

Photographs by the North  Korean media showed soldiers  and railroad workers shaking their  rifles and fists under slogans like “Let’s  tear the traitor Lee Myung-bak to  pieces!” or “Let’s beat the psychopathic traitor Lee Myung-bak to death!”

Also on Sunday, the North’s foreign  ministry accused Mr. Lee of trying to  disrupt American efforts to engage the  North.

South Korean officials stood by their  policy of not responding to  these invectives, which  they considered propaganda aimed  at driving a wedge between  Washington and Seoul and inciting a  political dispute within the South in an  election year.

Another view of the rostrum overlooking Kim Il Sung Square where VMar Ri Yong Ho (8th L) delivers a speech to a mass rally. In this image are: Gen. Pak Jae Gyong (L), Minister of People's Security Gen. Ri Myong Su (2nd L), Ministry of State Security Political Bureau Director Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (3rd L), NDC Member and Minister of State Security Gen. U Tong Chuk (4th L), NDC Member and KPA General Political Department Deputy Director VMar Kim Jong Gak (5th L), KWP Secretary and Director of General Affairs Tae Jong Su (6th L) and NDC Member and KWP Secretary of Military Industries Pak To Chun. (Photo: KCNA)

Prior to Kim Jong Un’s inspection the National Defense Commission [NDC] Policy Department held a press conference in Pyongyang.  The Associated Press reports:

On Saturday, a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defense Commission told a news conference that the United States must halt the joint military drills if it is serious about peace on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea calls the U.S.-South Korean war games a threat to peace at a time when U.S. and North Korean officials are holding talks aimed at improving relations.

The U.S. and North Korea announced last week that Washington had agreed to provide 240,000 metric tons of food aid in exchange for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear activities. A U.S. envoy is scheduled to meet with North Korean officials in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss the distribution of food.

The deal is seen as a first step toward resuming six-nation nuclear disarmament-for-aid talks suspended in 2009, and a tentative move toward improving the tense relationship between the wartime foes. The six-nation talks involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

“Talks and military exercises are contradictory,” Maj. Gen. Kwak Chol Hui, deputy director of the National Defense Commission’s Policy Department, told the news conference Saturday in response to a question from The Associated Press.

North Korea considers the drills an additional affront because they are being staged during the semiofficial 100-day mourning period following Kim Jong Il’s Dec. 17 death.

Across Pyongyang, vans mounted with speakers drove through the streets Saturday broadcasting the statement denouncing South Korea. State media reported that 1.7 million young North Koreans signed up for military service in a 24-hour period and that hundreds of thousands signed petitions calling for revenge. The figures could not be confirmed independently.

Meanwhile, in another indication of his status in the central leadership, a documentary film on Kim Jong Un’s military inspections and other public activities during January 2012 has been released.

One comment on “Kim Jong Un Visits Panmunjom

  1. Pingback: Kim Jong Un Visits Panmunjom | Korea Watch

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