North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju Watch Shooting Contest & Volleyball Match

Kim Jong Un (seated, L) talks with an official from the 25 April National Defense Sports Team. Also seen in attendance is his wife Ri Sol Ju (seated, 2nd L) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 7 November (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu) watched a shooting contest of the 25 April National Defense Sports Team and a women’s volleyball match.  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his visit to the Ryugyong Health Complex, the People’s Open Air Ice Rink and a newly constructed skate park in Pyongyang.  Ri Sol Ju’s last reported public appearance was her attendance at the soccer (football) finals of the 12th People’s Sports Contest on 29 October.

Watching the athletic contests with KJU and RSJ were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department [bureau]), Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission), Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Director of Propaganda and Agitation), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary of Science and Education), Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department), Kim P’yo’ng-hae (KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang City [municipal] KWP Committee), Ri Yong Su (Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department), Han Kwang Sang (Deputy Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department) and “other members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission.”

First, KJU and RSJ watched a shooting competition of the 25 April National Defense Sports Group, the KPA’s premier athletics organization which is subordinate to the KPA General Political Department.  Upon arriving at the venue of the competition Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Ri Jong Mu and officials of the 25 April National Defense Sports Group officials greeted KJU, who toured the shooting range and watched the competition.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed expectation that the April 25 National Defense Sports Team would produce more ace shooters in the days ahead to register better successes at national and international matches.”

Kim Jong Un talks to women volleyball players, after watching their match at a recently constructed gymnasium (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

KJU then toured a recently construction gymnasium to watch a volleyball match between the Ponghae Team and Pyongyang Team.  The Ponghae Team won the match, although KCNA did not report the score.  After match, Kim Jong Un participated in a commemorative photograph with the volleyball teams.  According to KCNA KJU said, “To turn the country into a sports power by developing the sports is an important work for increasing the national power in every way and demonstrating the indomitable spirit and dignity of military-first (so’ngun) Korea.  We spare nothing for the sportspersons.”  KCNA reported that KJU then took “benevolent measures for developing the sports.”

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