Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 16 March (Saturday) that DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim visited the Munp’yo’ng Smeltery, the Sep’o Tableland (grasslands) and several cooperative farms in Kangwo’n Province. Choe visited the Sep’o Tableland, a project of Korean People’s Army [KPA] personnel. He toured several area of the tableland project “to encourage the service persons and members of shock brigade in their drive for carrying out the great nature-transforming project.” He held a meeting with managers and employees of the project, a grasslands reclamation project for livestock. According to KCNA Choe “recalled that the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un unrolled a gigantic plan to reclaim the Sepho tableland for providing better living conditions to the people and is wisely leading this drive with deep loving care” and he “underlined the need for all officials, service persons and members of shock brigade to finish the reclamation project in the spirit of “At one go” and took measures for settling issues arising in the project.”
Choe also visited the Namchang Cooperative Farm, the Pisan Cooperative Farm and the Anbyon Potash Fertilizer Factory. According to KCNA Choe “called on all farms to increase the production of quality organic compound fertilizer, while boosting the production of livestock products through the introduction of cyclic production system and on the fertilizer factories to radically lift the production for the purpose of attaining the grain production goal this year without fail.”
On 14 March, DPRK state media reported that Choe visited the Pyongyang accommodations of participants in a national meeting of light industry workers.
Choe visit to Kangwo’n Province occurred as South Korean (ROK) media reported that strategic rocket units under Wo’nsan Corps test launched two KN-02 short-range missiles “into the East Sea.” It was not clear when or where the KN-02 launches took place, however KN-02 testing has occurred or was planned at test sites in and around Anbyo’n County, where Choe was reported to be present. Given the Sep’o Tableland project labor has been supplied by the KPA, it is likely Choe inspected other KPA activities in the area and observed the KN-02 test launches. Choe may also have inspected preparations for upcoming large-scale joint military exercises by the KPA, which will reportedly be staged from Kangwo’n Province, along the DPRK’s East Coast.