Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 24 October (Wednesday) that a completion and memorial ceremony was held at the Chinese People’s Volunteers’ Cemetery in Hoech’ang County, South P’yo’ngan Province, in commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of the CPV’s entry into the Korean War. The cemetery is one of several burial grounds in the DPRK for Chinese fighters killed in action during the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War. The CPV Cemetery in Hoechang holds the remains and a memorial to Mao Anying, eldest son of Mao Zedong killed by a napalm strike on 25 November 1950.
Attending the completion ceremony from the DPRK were: Minister of Public Health and Chairman of the DPRK-China Friednship Association Central Committee, Choe Chang Sik; Deputy (vice) Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] International Affairs Department, Kim Song Nam; Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Col. Gen. Kang Pyo Yong; and, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Hyong Jun. Attending the ceremony on behalf of China were: PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, accompanied by PRC Embassy officials; Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Dou Yupei; and, Li Shumin, leading a delegation of the Dandong Municipal (city) Committee of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Choe Chang Sik, speaking on behalf of the DPRK, said that “the army and people of the DPRK remember the heroic feats performed by CPV fighters who bravely fought under the banner of resisting America and aiding Korea, safeguarding the home and defending the motherland” and “Chinese relevant units gave full support and aids to the work for renovation of the cemetery,” according to KCNA. Choe also declared that “will make efforts to steadily develop DPRK-China friendship hand in hand with Chinese comrades in the future, too.”
Dou Yupei, speaking on behalf of the PRC, said “that CPV fighters bravely fought to defeat the common enemies of the peoples of the two countries in the Korean front” and “the cemetery has been successfully renovated to mark the 62nd anniversary of the CPV entry into the Korean front,” according to KCNA.” Dou also said “cemetery will play an important role in educating younger generation.”
After the speaking program, floral wreath were laid at Mao Anying’s grave and the graves of other CPV members. Wreaths were delivered to the graves on behalf of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the South P’yo’ngan Provincial KWP Committee, the South P’yo’ngan Provincial People’s Committee, the Hoech’ang County KWP Committee, the Hoech’ang County People’s Committee, Korean People’s Army [KPA] units of the III Army Corps, Mechanized Command and other, and the PRC Embassy in the DPRK. After the presentation of the wreaths KCNA reported that “participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of Mao Anying and fallen fighters of the CPV and looked round the graves of martyrs.”
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the cemetery during his October 2009 visit to the DPRK and in October 2010, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un visited the cemetery to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the CPV’s entry into the Fatherland Liberation War. The KJI/KJU visits occurred almost a month after KJU’s mass public introduction as hereditary successor in September 2010, and the visit to the CPV Cemetery in Hoech’ang was one the first major events attended by nearly every substantive members of the new leadership.**
On 22 October (Monday), the PRC Embassy in the DPRK reported that on 20 October (Saturday), PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai, along with PRC Diplomatic Counsel Zhang Benliang, Defense Attache Zhang Pingguo and PRC Diplomatic Counsel Jiang Yaxian, visited a CPV Martyrs Cemetery in Changjin County, South Hamgyo’ng Province. The Changjin County CPV burial ground has three “joint graves” (i.e. mass graves) holding the remains of approximately 9,000 CPV fighters. According to the embassy’s report a floral wreath was place in front of the graves and “After paying silent tribute in memory of the CPV martyrs, Ambassador Liu carefully examined every joint burial grave for a long time and offered Chinese liquor to every grave in a hope that the martyrs might rest in peace.”
Ambassador Liu was accompanied during his visit by Jang Hyong Bong (Chang Hyo’ng-pong), Chairman of the Changjin County People’s Committee. Jang told Ambassador Liu that “the country has assigned special personnel to take care of and preserve the graves of the CPV martyrs and other memorial facilities” and that “during the Korean War, many CPV stationed in the county fought and lived with the DPRK soldiers and civilians for many years and established a profound friendship with them. . .people of the county have never regarded Chinese as foreigners and have warmly greeted every Chinese visitor.” Jang also told Liu about Chinese nationals working in the county stranded in a typhoon and the steps ordered by the central leadership to rescue them. Liu also met a local citizen of Changjin County, Ri Song Hun (Ri So’ng-hun) “who took care of the graves of the CPV martyrs [and] taken care of and preserved the graves for 40 years.”
According to the PRC Embassy, Liu Hongcai said that “The CPV martyrs and the DPRK soldiers and civilians fought shoulder to shoulder to resist the foreign enemy and established the traditional China-DPRK friendship cemented with blood and lives. Their contributions live forever. As their offspring, we are obliged to exert all-out efforts to carry on and develop this friendship.”
**some of whom have since been disappeared