Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 19 November (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) inspected the equestrian company of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit #534. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a commemorative photograph session with participants in the 4th National Meeting of Mothers. At the beginning of his inspection Kim Jong Un saw “training facilities and horses which lined for training, he watched service personnel’s training of horse riding.”
At his inspection of this company of KPA Unit #534 KJU was accompanied by his sister Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng), VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department [bureau]), Kim Kyong Hui (KWP Secretary and KJU’s aunt), Jang Song Taek (National Defense Commission Vice Chairman and KJU’s uncle), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Kim Ki Nam (KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation [publicity and information] Department), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff), Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department), Kim Pyong Hae (KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang Cuty [municipal] KWP Committee), Pak Pong Ju (Director of the KWP Light Industry Department), Han Kwang San (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Finance and Accounting Department), Kim Kyong Ok (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Ri Ryong Ha (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Hwang Pyo’ng-so (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Kim Pyong Ho (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department), Gen. Choe Pu Il (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Commanding Officer of the KPA Northeast Military District), Col. Gen. Son Chol Ju (KPA Supreme Command), Gen. Pak Jae Gyong (Deputy [Vice] Director of the KPA General Political Department), Lt. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (KPA Supreme Command), Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Director of the NDC Reconnaissance Bureau) and Col. Gen. Jon Chang Bok (Deputy [vice] Director of the KPA General Logistics Department).
According to KCNA “watching their brave training, he was satisfied with the fact that commanding officers and men are possessed of the admirable horsemanship” and KJU “recollected with deep emotion the feats performed by leader Kim Jong Il in guiding the work at this training ground, saying that President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were very good at riding horses.” KJU and members of the DPRK leadership in attendance then rode horses around the premises. KJU remarked that the equestrian grounds were “fairly good for riding.” According to KCNA Kim Jong Un said, “If this training ground which was visited by Kim Jong Il several times is rebuilt into a modern ground for horse riding, this will mean better preservation and consolidation of the precious legacy left by him.” One of these inspections to the equestrian grounds by Kim Jong Il was made in early November 2008, and was one of his first reported public appearances after recuperating from a series of strokes in July and August 2008.
KJU then named the equestrian ground of KPA Unit #534 the “Mirim Horse Riding Club” and he “called for renovating horse-riding club at an early date and presenting it to the people.” According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said:
Horse-riding is a very good exercise helpful for nurturing bravery. It will help strengthen healthy spirit and physical body conducive to labor and defense. Regular horse-riding exercises from early years based on education will develop muscles and prevent back ache even after becoming adults. Horse-riding has caught worldwide interest. Koreans have been fond of riding horses from the olden times and frequently held competitions on horseback, thus training their body and mind. When renovated, the horse-riding club will attract lots of working people, youth and students. The horse-riding will help them train their body and mind and give them pride and joy. Roller skating wind is raging after the creation of skate parks in different parts of Pyongyang. The same thing will happen after the creation of horse-riding club. To promote horse-riding, it is necessary to provide necessary conditions. It is necessary to arrange horse-riding club and, at the same time, create horse-riding school and teach not only horse-riding but horse breeding and taming. Breeding healthy horses is important for the well operation of horse-riding club.
KCNA reported that KJU instructed “solving in time problems arising in breeding horses including the provision of fodder,” “called for timely producing horse-riding gears including riding suit” and that he “stressed the need to successfully renovate the club as required by the era of military-first (So’ngun) and provide the Koreans who are the best in the world with the highly civilized living conditions and environment.”