Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
update Choe Ryong Hae has seen his rank of KPA Vice Marshal (ch’asu) restored, based on Yonhap News Agency‘s Korean Central Television [KCTV] coverage of the MPA anniversary meeting, which was also reported in Daily NK. At public events in mid-December 2012 Choe was seen wearing four-stars on his uniform shoulder boards, indicating the rank of General (taejang) and a temporary demotion. It is not clear if another member of KPA high command, Hyon Yong Chol, has also been restored as Vice Marshal.
DPRK state media reported on 5 February (Tuesday) that the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF] held a meeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of a visit by the late DPRK founder and president Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng; KIS) and his son, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il), to Mt. Taedok in South Hwanghae Province on 6 February 1963** at which KIS introduced the slogan “a match [one soldier] for a hundred” (a-match-for-a-hundred). Attending the anniversary meeting held at the 25 April House of Culture on Tuesday were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), VMar Hyon Chol He (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department), other MPAF officials and KPA officers and service members.
Gen. Choe Ryong Hae delivered the meeting’s report in which he said “that the slogan whose justice and might have been clearly proved in army building and military activities is being successfully carried out under the Military-First (so’ngun) leadership of the dear respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.” According to KCNA Choe “underscored the need to make the hot wind of intensive training sweep the army just as the anti-Japanese guerrillas did on Mt. Paektu, so as to prepare all the soldiers to be a-match-for-a- hundred combatants who have acquired Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il’s strategy and tactics, brave offensive mode and perfect capabilities for actual warfare” and said that “when Kim Jong Un gives his order, the KPA officers and soldiers should remove all the sources of aggression and evil, settle accounts with the U.S. the confrontation with which has lasted century after century and win a victory in the war for the country’s reunification without fail.” Choe also said said “the immortal flags bearing the beaming images of the Generalissimos flutter in the van and Kim Jong Un provides wise leadership, there will be only victory and glory for the KPA.”
KCNA issued a separate news item about the revolutionary historical site at Mt. Taedok and reported on Kim Jong Il visiting Mt. Taedok in 1996:”Kim Jong Il again visited the place in March 1996 and gave a machine gun, an automatic rifle and binoculars as gifts to the soldiers there who prepared themselves to be able to defeat any formidable enemy at one stroke by intensifying the combat and political training, true to the field instruction of the President.”
According to one of Kim Jong Il’s official biographies:
On February 6, 1963, he accompanied Kim Il Sung who was inspecting the frontline on Mt. Taedok. Notwithstanding the severe winter, Kim Il Sung inspected the unit and set forth the militant slogan, “a-match- for-a-hundred”. But the commanding officers of the unit failed to fathom the correct meaning of the slogan.
When he came to a trench on the peak, an officer of the unit reported to Kim Jong Il that they would be fully able to be a-match-for-a-hundred in a defensive battle if they built up their defence position and trained themselves relying on it, as Kim Il Sung had instructed. He understood the slogan only in terms of an immediate combat task for defence, instead of considering it as a new policy to be applied in the building of the army as a whole.
Grasping the weakness in his understanding, Kim Jong Il explained to him that the slogan contained the intention of Kim Il Sung to develop the KPA into a powerful revolutionary armed force which could defeat any enemy in any battle. He said:
“The slogan of a-match-for-a-hundred requires in essence that each soldier should be prepared to face a hundred enemies not only in defence but also in attack. You should not confine the content of the slogan only to defence. Each soldier of the People’s Army should become a match for a hundred in attack as well as in defensive battle.”
Kim Jong Il continued to say that the KPA is a revolutionary army with a noble aim; it had the tradition of the anti-Japanese armed struggle behind it, and each soldier would equal a hundred foes when he acquired the indomitable revolutionary spirit of the anti-Japanese guerrillas, their marksmanship, flexible tactics and sound physique.
He later visited several other units to help them train soldiers into combatants equal to face a hundred.
The MPAF or KPA would have convened a commemorative report meeting whether or not satellite image analysts discovered ongoing construction and preparatory activities at the nuclear test site in P’unggye-ri, Kilchu County, North Hamgyo’ng Province. However, DPRK state media activity published prior to the MPAF commemorative meeting referred to the Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) chairing and speaking at an expanded Party Central Military Commission [CMC] meeting, and to a meeting held the previous week that gathered functionaries of the country’s national security officials.
Choso’n Sinbo wrote on 4 February (Monday): “The Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] reported that “an important conclusion — which serves as the programmatic guidance in further strengthening the people’s army into an invincible Mt. Paektu revolutionary strong army of sure victory in defending the security and sovereignty of the country — has been drawn.” This important meeting attended by party CMC members and members of the Korean People’s Army command would have been a place for confirming the iron will of the army that will cope with the current situation” and about the national security functionaries’ meeting “The consultative meeting of functionaries in the state security and external affairs sectors, which was held after the adoption of the UN Security Council ‘resolution,’sought countermeasures that face up to the cold reality of the international community. According to the KCNA, the participants reconfirmed the fact that “although the concerned sides devoted efforts to fairly resolve the issue and to prevent the escalation of the situation, there is also a limit to their ability, as they themselves acknowledge.” The conclusion reached was that “our sovereignty should be defended only by our own strength.'”
The same Choso’n Sinbo piece referred to the nuclear issue, writing “The United States’ imperialistic nature has not changed. However, the security environment surrounding the Korean peninsula has greatly changed in the interim. The DPRK became a nuclear state. As of last year, the strategic missiles of the people’s army have been openly declared as even possessing the [capability] of having the US mainland within its bull’s-eye strike zone.The qualitative and quantitative expansion and reinforcement of national defense capabilities served as a decisive momentum for the DPRK in establishing a new perspective on the power structure of the world and the trend of the international situation.”
On 5 February, the same day as the MPAF commemorative report meeting, Rodong Sinmun published an essay titled “Nothing Can Keep Us From Moving Forward.” The essay began with “The Lee Myung-bak gang of traitors, which has escalated the state of tension on the Korean peninsula to extremes with anti-Republic ‘sanction’ commotion, has been desperately running amok while viciously picking a quarrel with our resolve for a just response to safeguard the sovereignty of the country, calling it ‘additional provocation’ and whatnot.” The RS essay also said “”In the meantime, the rabble of the puppet authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have staged a conspiracy bout against the Republic with their US and Japanese masters in order to pursue a new “resolution of sanctions against North Korea,” making absurd remarks about what is called “a halt to provocation” and ‘leading to grave results.’ This cannot but be a despicable act of provocation that is the same as a robber wielding his own lash of punishment.” Referring to ongoing joint US-ROK military drills and recent statements from the South Korea [ROK] government the essay said “However, this is a miscalculation. No matter how much the puppets mention ‘additional sanctions’ and make military threats by conspiring and colluding with the United States, nothing will change for us. To the contrary, the will of our army and people — that will achieve the historic cause of the fatherland’s reunification ahead of schedule by mercilessly crushing the challenge of hostile forces, while being confident of the correctness and final victory of our own cause — is becoming more resolute many times over now when the enemies are attacking us desperately.”
** 7 February was, for many years, the anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army. It was subsequently changed to 25 April.