North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Suk Death Anniversary Commemorated

A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un (L) beside the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk in the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 22 September (Saturday) that floral baskets were delivered to the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on  in Pyongyang in commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Suk (Kim Cho’ng-suk).  A floral wreath was delivered to Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust in the cemetery on behalf of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).  Members of the DPRK central leadership including Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Kang Sok Ju attended the ceremony along with “other leading officials of the party, state and army, the chairperson of a friendly party, officials of party, armed forces and power organs, the Cabinet, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, service persons of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces and Pyongyangites.”

Members of the central leadership attend a wreath laying ceremony in front of the memorial bust of Kim Jong Suk in the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang. Among those seen in attendance are: VMar Kim Jong Gak (5th L), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (6th L), Kim Yong Nam (7th L), Choe Yong Rim (5th R), Kim Ki Nam (4th R), Yang Hyong Sop (3rd R), Kang Sok Ju (2nd R) and Pak To Chun (R) (Photo: KCTV/KCNA screen grab)

Members of the Kim Il Sung Youth League and the Young Red Guard salute during a wreath laying ceremony at Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust (Photo: KCNA)

KCNA reported that floral wreaths were placed near Kim Jong Suk’s memorial bust on behalf of “the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the Ministry of People’s Security, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, KPA units, educational, literary and arts, public health and media institutions, the Joint National Organization of the Korean Children’s Union, party and power organs, factories and farms in the city.”  According to KCNA during the ceremony, “participants paid silent tribute to Kim Jong Suk, looking back on her immortal life.”

Floral baskets sit beneath the pedestal of a statue of Kim Jong Suk in Hoeryo’ng, North Hamgyo’ng Province (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screen grab)

DPRK state media also reported that similar memorial ceremonies were held at in Kim Jong Suk County, Yanggang Province, the Kim Jong Suk General Military Academy, Kim Jong Suk Naval University in South Hamgyo’ng Province and at a historical site marking Kim Jong Suk’s birthplace in Hoeryo’ng, North Hamgyo’ng Province.

Kim Jong Suk statue on the campus of the Kim Jong Suk Naval University in South Hamgyo’ng Province (top image) and senior party officials (Tae Jong Su and Kim Yong Gyu) delivering a floral basket to the statue (bottom image) (Photos: KCNA/KCTV screen grab)

Kim Jong Suk was the first wife of the late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung.  She was the mother of Kim Kyong Hui (b. 1946), a member of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Political Bureau and a KWP Secretary, and two of Kim Il Sung’s other children, late supreme leader Kim Jong Il (1941-2011) and Kim Pyong Il (1944-1947), who drowned in a water retention pond.  Kim Jong Suk had a public role in the DPRK’s early political culture, including dedicating the first Kim Il Sung statue on the campus of Mangyo’ngdae Revolutionary School in 1947.  She died due to complications from an extrauterine pregnancy in 1949.

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