Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported that the Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and members of the central leadership attended a national report meeting, concert and visited the remains of his father and grandfather at the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace in commemoration of the official anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army [KPA]. Security officers and services began to be organized by the post-war Soviet authorities in 1945, creating an internal security apparatus. The KPA was formally organized in February 1946 with the foundation of the Security Cadres’ Training School* in Taean-ri in present day South P’yo’ngan Province and the DPRK announced the formation of the KPA on 8 February 1949. 8 February was celebrated as the country’s Army Day until 1978. Linking the heritage of the KPA to Kim Il Sung’s guerrilla activities in northeastern China in the 1930s, the country revised the KPA’s anniversary day to 25 April when Kim Il Sung formed the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Army. According to KIS’ memoir With the Century:
On the morning of April 25, 1932, we held the founding ceremony of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army on the tableland at Tuqidian. The guerrilla, dressed in their new uniforms and with their guns of their shoulders, line up in unit order in the clearing on the tableland surrounded by larch trees, and the people from Xiaoshahe and Xinglongcun were buxxing, as they stood in a group at one edge of the clearing.
When looking at the fresh, sturdy soldiers, my mind was flooded with surging memories. How many miles our comrades had walked, how many meetings they had held, how many speeches they had delivered, how many rugged mountains they had trekked, and how many comrades had laid down their lives in the course of forming this armed force!
The first event KJU and the central leadership attended was a national report meeting, held at the 25 April House of Culture. KCNA reports:
Attending the meeting were Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Ri Yong Ho and other senior party, state and army officials, officials of party, armed forces and power organs, social organizations, ministries, national institutions, service personnel of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces (KPISF), officials in the fields of science, education, culture and arts, public health and media and families of servicemen, working people and overseas compatriots and the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front.
Diplomatic envoys of different countries, members of military attaches corps and foreign guests were present there on invitation.
KPA Vice-Marshal Ri Yong Ho, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK C.C. and chief of the General Staff of the KPA, made a report.
First he warmly congratulated the service persons of the KPA and the KPISF and members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and the Young Red Guards who have reliably backed the revolutionary cause of juche with arms and paid respect to the anti-Japanese revolutionary forerunners and KPA martyrs who laid down their lives for the freedom and independence of the country and the liberation of the people.
He said President Kim Il Sung founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army on Apr. 25, 1932 and achieved the historic cause of national liberation after defeating the Japanese imperialist aggressors.
The President developed the KPA into regular revolutionary armed forces and built self- supporting national defence industry despite the difficult and complicated situation after the country’s liberation. His outstanding Songun leadership provided a powerful military guarantee for stepping up the building of a new country, the reporter said, and went on: The historic victory in the Fatherland Liberation War was one of the President’s Juche-oriented military idea and iron will and prominent commanding art. It was a military miracle in the 20th century that the DPRK shattered the myth of “mightiness” of U.S. imperialism in the world eyes.
The President’s guidance over the People’s Army enabled it to invariably preserve its character as the revolutionary armed forces of the party that inherited the tradition of the anti-Japanese armed struggle.
He also advanced the military line of self-defence and the slogan “A-match-for-a hundred” so as to bolster the defence capability of the country in every aspect.
The cause of Juche-based army-building pioneered and led by the President was creditably carried forward by leader Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il formulated the songun politics as a main political mode under socialism in the 1990s and put forward the People’s Army as the driving force of the revolution on the principle of putting the army ahead of the working class.
Thanks to his experienced and seasoned leadership, the People’s Army could demonstrate its might as an elite army strong in idea and faith and a matchless revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu that is possessed of its own versatile war methods and experience of sure victories and equipped with Korean-style offensive and defensive means capable of fighting any form of modern warfare.
The cause of Juche-oriented army-building started on Mt. Paektu has been vigorously advanced by Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.
The congratulatory speech made by him at a military parade in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the President’s birth serves as a beacon and an immortal programme that indicated the way ahead of the army and people of the DPRK who are advancing along the road of independence, the road of songun and the road of socialism.
The revolution of juche is sure to triumph thanks to the outstanding leadership of Kim Jong Un and the powerful revolutionary armed forces and single-minded unity of service persons and people.
Ri emphasized the importance of strengthening the military to defend North Korea against threats it sees from the United States and South Korea. He called his nation a nuclear and military power and praised new leader Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s, as a “military strategist” who has been giving the army guidance for years.
“The Korean People’s Army is armed with powerful modern weapons … that can defeat the (U.S.) imperialists at a single blow,” he told party and military officials, using familiar descriptions of the country’s rivals.
The Associated Press was among foreign news agencies based in Pyongyang allowed to observe the closed meeting, attended by Kim Jong Un.
Ri, who is chief of the army’s General Staff, did not provide further details about North Korea’s weapons, but his call to arms comes as the United States, Britain and others warn the North against provocations that would further heighten tensions. The Korean peninsula remains officially at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Earlier this month, North Korea launched a long-range rocket in what its officials called a failed attempt to put a satellite into space. The launch was decried internationally as a banned test of long-range missile technology.
The rocket broke into pieces shortly after liftoff. The U.N. Security Council later condemned the launch as a violation of resolutions prohibiting North Korea from engaging in nuclear and missile activity, and Washington halted a plan to provide the North with much-needed food aid in exchange for a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.
On Monday, North Korea responded to U.S. and South Korean criticism with threats to reduce South Korean targets “to ashes” within minutes in a particularly sharp warning that followed days of protest rallies held nationwide.
There also are worries that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test, as it did after rocket launches in 2006 and 2009. South Korean intelligence officials say recent satellite images show the North has been digging a new tunnel in what could be preparation for a third atomic test.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned North Korea not to engage in any further provocation.
He told reporters in Brazil that he had no knowledge of any specific actions being planned by North Korea but said he would “strongly urge” it to avoid any destabilizing acts.
Later the same day, Kim Jong Un and members of the central leadership visited Ku’msusan Memorial Palace to pay their respects to the remains of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and the recently-installed remains of his father Kim Jong Il. KCNA reports:
Accompanying him were leading officials of party, state and armed forces institutions Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Pak To Chun, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, Kwak Pom Gi, Kim Chang Sop, Ri Pyong Sam, Ro Tu Chol, Jo Yon Jun, members of the WPK Central Committee guidance body in Pyongyang as well as officials of party, Cabinet and social organizations, chief secretaries of district (county) committees of the WPK in Pyongyang and KPA men and officers.
Seen before the portraits of smiling Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il was a floral basket in the joint name of the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the WPK and the NDC, Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Cabinet of the DPRK.
Kim Jong Un entered the hall where there are the portraits of smiling Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Un together with the leading officials of party, state and armed forces institutions paid tribute to the portraits in humble reverence.
The 25 April House of Culture’s events personnel had a rapid tear-down process to turn around the venue for an anniversary concert by the State Merited Chorus (a.k.a Merited State Choir). KCNA reports:
Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, enjoyed the performance.
He sent congratulations to the servicepersons on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the KPA, acknowledging the enthusiastically cheering audience.
Seeing the performance were senior party, state and army officials Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Ri Yong Mu, Kang Sok Ju, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong Su, O Kuk Ryol, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Kwak Bom Gi, Ju Kyu Chang, Kim Chang Sop, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun, the chairman of the friendly party, officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, social organizations, ministries and national institutions and officials in the fields of science, education, literature and art, public health and media and officers and men of the KPA and the Korean Internal Security Forces.
Invited there were overseas compatriots’ delegations and overseas Koreans, the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front, foreign diplomatic envoys, members of the military attache corps here and foreign guests.
Among the numbers of the performance that began with the national anthem were male chorus “Song of the Korean People’s Army”, male chorus “Long Live Generalissimo Kim Il Sung”, mixed duet “The Country I Am Defending”, a series of male chorus “Motherland Calls You”, “The Victorious Parade” and male chorus “We Will Defend General Kim Jong Un with Our Lives”.
The performers sang highly of the undying revolutionary exploits of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il who provided powerful military capabilities that guarantee the prosperity of the country and well-being of all the generations to come.
Kim Jong Un waved back to the performers and audience and appreciated the performance.
Greatly satisfied with the excellent performance, he expressed hope and conviction that the creators and artistes of the State Merited Chorus would greatly encourage the army and people to vigorously advance toward the final victory through their revolutionary and militant performing activities.
*Seiler, Syd. Kim Il-so’ng 1941-1948: The Creation of a Legend, The Building of a Regime (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1994) p.65