North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Yong Nam Departs Tehran After Meeting with Iran Leadership

DPRK official head of state, Kim Yong Nam (L), meets with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) in Tehran on 1 September 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 3 September (Monday) that Kim Yong Nam (Kim Yo’ng-nam), President of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium  along with DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun (Pak U’i-ch’un) and other senior DPRK officials, departed Tehran for Pyongyang during the day.  Kim was accompanied to the airport by protocol officials of the Iran Presidential Office, as well as DPRK Ambassador to Iran Jo In Chol (Jo In-ch’o’l) and DPRK Embassy officials.  During his visit to Iran, Kim conducted an official visit to the country and attended the Non-aligned Movement [NAM] Summit, where he interacted with several foreign leaders including United Nations [UN] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Senior Iranian officials (L) led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet with a senior DPRK delegation (R) led by Kim Yong Nam in Tehran on 1 September 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

On Saturday (1 September) Kim and the DPRK delegation met with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  KCNA reports:

At the talks both sides exchanged views on the issues of boosting the bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation and strengthening cooperation on the joint anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. front and in the non-aligned movement. They reached a consensus of views on the matters discussed.

The DPRK side clarified that it is the firm stand of the DPRK to boost ties with Iran.

The DPRK side underscored the need to boost the exchange of visits by high-level delegations, ties of economic cooperation and mutual support in the international arena in line with the development level of bilateral political relations. It called for significantly celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations.

The Iranian side expressed satisfaction with the intensified cooperation in various domains in the past, adding that the development of the bilateral relations is beneficial for the wellbeing and development in Iran and DPRK.

Urging all the member states of the NAM to bear in mind that they could defeat imperialism and hegemony when they struggle from a steadfast anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. stand like the DPRK, the Iranian side stressed that the issue of Korea’s reunification should be resolved independently by the concerted efforts of the Korean nation.

The talks took place in a friendly atmosphere.

Kim Yong Nam (L) meets with Iran’s 1st Vice President Mohammed Reza-Rahimi in Tehran on 1 September 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim also held separate meetings with Iran 1st Vice President Mohammed Reza-Rahimi and Ali Larijani, Chairman and Speaker of Iran Parliament (Majlis).  KCNA reports:

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, separately met and had a talk with Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, first vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian Majlis, at the Presidential Palace and the building of Majlis on Saturday.

The first vice-president said that he was pleased with the economic achievements made by the Korean people under the leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un, adding that the DPRK was the first to recognize the Islamic Revolution of Iran and rendered unsparing support and aid to the Iranian people.

Saying that the Iranian people respect the heroic Korean people and attach importance to the development of the relations between the two countries, he expressed his intention to further expand economic cooperation in the future.

The speaker said that the relations between Iran and the DPRK have achieved good and multifaceted development, underscoring the need to strengthen the support and solidarity between the parliaments of the two countries in the international arena.

Kim Yong Nam (L) meets with Chairman of the Parliament of Iran, Ali Larijani (R) in Tehran on 1 September 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Yong Nam (L) meets with Iran Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran on 1 September 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Yong Nam met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.  KCNA reports:

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, Saturday paid a courtesy call on Seyed Ali Khamenei, leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Seyed Ali Khamenei said that he did not forget the fact that he was honored with the audience of President Kim Il Sung during his visit to the DPRK.

He praised Kim Il Sung as the great statesman.

He has a good knowledge of the greatness of leader Kim Jong Il, saying that the dear respected Kim Jong Un is carrying forward the cause of the preceding leaders.

He is rejoiced over the ongoing close cooperation between the two countries, he said.

He wished the Korean people happiness and prosperity.

The talk proceeded in a cordial atmosphere.

Later in the day on Saturday, President Ahmadinejad, hosted a banquet for Kim Yong Nam.  Attending the banquet with Kim were Pak Ui Chun and Jo In Chol, and other members of Kim’s entourage.  According to KCNA, Iran’s senior official in attendance included “Fereydoon Abbasi-Dabani, vice-president and head of Atomic Energy Organization, Ahmad Vahidi, minister of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, Mehdi Ghazanfari, minister of Industrial, Mining and Trade, Kamran Daneshjoo, minister of Science, Research and Technology, the minister of Agriculture (and) the governor of the Central Bank of Iran.”  KCNA reports:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, gave a banquet in honor of Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, on Saturday.

Present there on invitation were Kim Yong Nam, Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun, DPRK Ambassador in Tehran Jo In Chol and other suite members.

Attending it were Fereydoon Abbasi-Dabani, vice-president and head of Atomic Energy Organization, Ahmad Vahidi, minister of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, Mehdi Ghazanfari, minister of Industrial, Mining and Trade, Kamran Daneshjoo, minister of Science, Research and Technology, the minister of Agriculture, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and officials concerned.

The banquet was given in a friendly atmosphere.

Meanwhile, as Kim Yong Nam was feted and courteously welcomed in Tehran, the DPRK Foreign Ministry on 31 August (Friday) published a “memorandum” through DPRK state media which cites “US hostile policies” as the primary motivation for its nuclear weapons program and vows to expand the program (i.e. HEU),  at this point a fait accompli.  The memo concludes:

The DPRK has already emerged as a full-fledged nuclear weapons state, and the era when the U.S. threatened the DPRK with atomic bomb has gone by. We will not sit idle watching the increased hostile moves of the U.S. but will make every effort to defend the destiny of the country and the nation.

It will be a great mistake to regard our strong position as a kind of tactics.

We opted for building up nuclear deterrent, not because we wanted to trade it off for something but because we had to counter off the moves of the U.S., the biggest nuclear power in the world, aimed at eliminating the DPRK.

Our nuclear deterrent for self-defense is a treasured sword that prevents war and ensures peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

If the U.S. does not make a right choice, the DPRK’s nuclear possession will inevitably be prolonged, modernizing and expanding its nuclear deterrent capability beyond the U.S. imagination.

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