Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 17 December (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a ceremony opening the renovated Ku’msusan Memorial Palace. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a national memorial service commemorating the first anniversary of the death of his father, the late leader Kim Jong Il. At his visit to Ku’msusan KJU was joined by his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu). Ri’s last reported public appearance was her attendance at a shooting contest and volleyball match, reported by state media on 7 November. In images released of the ceremony at Ku’msusan, Ri appears to be pregnant. Also in attendance at the ceremony were KJU’s aunt and KJI’s sister, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui and her husband National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek, as well as Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium President Kim Yong Nam, DPRK Premier Choe Yong Rim, Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department (bureau) Choe Ryong Hae, KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok, KWP Secretary Kim Ki Nam, Chief of the KPA General Staff Hyon Yong Chol, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju, KWP Secrtary KWP Secretary Pak To Chun, 1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department Hyon Chol Hae, other members of the KWP Political Bureau, party leadership and senior government and military officials. Interestingly, VMar Kim Jong Gak, recently dismissed as Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, was listed by KCNA as in attendance at Ku’msusan (he can be seen in these grainy images).
Also attendance at the ceremony and inaugural visit to the renovated palace, according to KCNA, were “scientists, technicians, workers and officials who contributed to the successful launch of the second version of satellite Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3, overseas Koreans’ delegations and other overseas compatriots, those related to the revolutionary activities of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front, diplomatic envoys of various countries, representatives of international organizations and members of the military attaches corps here” along with officials of “ministries and national institutions, heroes and those who were received by President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, those who are related with their revolutionary activities, merited persons, and officers and men of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces. Also present there were officials in the scientific, educational, literature and art, public health and media fields, members of the bereaved families of revolutionary martyrs (and) working people.”
KJU and and Ri Sol Ju arrived at the plaza in front of Ku’msusan where senior officials bowed as they greeted them. KJU and the assembled central leadership lined up behind a ceremonial red tape which KCNA reported “representatives of KPA, workers, farmers and intellectuals cut off the tape” to open the palace. After the ceremonial tape was cut, a series of personal aides to members of the leadership scrambled over to assist the DPRK elites in removing their coats prior to their entrance to the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun. Kim Jong Un, Ri Sol Ju and the assembled members of the leadership visited the hall to where a series of floral baskets from party, government and military power organizations were placed. A ceremony was held in the plaza in front of the Ku’msusan Palace.
Choe Ryong Hae delivered a speech in which, according to KCNA, he said “that the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun is the supreme temple of Juche which symbolizes the glorious revolutionary careers of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and their feats and which reflects the steady continuity given to the history of the sun.” In his remarks, Choe also corroborated that KJI’s yacht was displayed along with other personal effects along with his personal railway carriage, photographs and “other historic relics and orders are on display at the palace with much care are symbolic of the noble lives of the great Generalissimos who dedicated their all to the prosperity of the country, the happiness of the people and the global independence throughout their revolutionary careers.” According to the Associated Press, the display of KJI’s personal effects also included his sunglasses, a pair of his platform shows, his off-white park and “a MacBook Pro lay open on his desk.” According to KCNA Choe also said “the inauguration of the palace will make it possible for the army and people of the DPRK to come to the sacred temple of the sun in joy or in sorrow, have dialogues with the great Generalissimos in their minds and deepen close bonds of a harmonious whole.”
KJU, Ri Sol Ju, the members of the central leadership, various DPRK elites and invited guests also visited a room containing the remains of his father, Kim Jong Il. It was the first public display of KJI’s remains, which have undergone an extensive preservation process, since December 2011. According to KCNA, KJU “made bows in humble reverence for Kim Jong Il, who turned the DPRK into a political and ideological power based on the single-minded unity, a world-level military power, a full-fledged nuclear weapons state and a space power and laid eternal foundations for the prosperity of the country.” KJU also visited “the mourning hall, the room where the orders Kim Jong Il received are on display and the room where a car, electric car, ship and train used by him are on view, which were perfectly built by the intense loyalty and sense of moral obligation of the whole party, the entire army and people.”