Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 25 April (Thursday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a rally and “march-past” at Ku’msusan Plaza in Pyongyang to mark the official 81st anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People’s Army [KPA]. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his attendance at a concert by the U’nhasu Orchestra, given on Sun’s Day (Day of the Sun; Kim Il Sung’s birth anniversary). Joining Kim Jong Un on one platform were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Jang Song Taek (Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission [NDC]), Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Pak To Chun (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary), VMar Kim Yong Chun (Vice Chairman of the NDC and Director of the KWP Civil Defense Department),VMar Ri Yong Mu (Vice Chairman of the NDC), Gen. O Kuk Ryol (Vice Chairman of the NDC), VMar Hyon Chol Hae (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces and Director of the KPA General Logistics Department), Gen. Kim Wo’n-hong (Minister of State Security [MSS]), Ju Kyu Chang (Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department), Col. Gen. Kim Chang Sop (Director of the MSS Political Bureau), Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of People’s Security [MPS]), Col Gen. Ri Pyong Sam (Director of the MPS Political Bureau), Gen. Ri Pyong Chol (Commander of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Command), Col. Gen. Kim Myong Sik (Commander of the KPA Navy) and Lt. Gen. Kim Rak Gyom (Commander of the KPA Strategic Rocket Force Command).
Watching the rally and demonstration from another platform were Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium President Kim Yong Nam, DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju, KWP Secretary and Kim Family head Kim Kyong Hui, KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Kim Ki Nam, KWP Secretary and SPA Chairman Choe Tae Bok, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, DPRK Cabinet Vice Premier Kang Sok Ju, KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department Kim Yang Gon, KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department Kim Yong Il, KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs Kim P’yo’ng-hae, KWP Secretary and Director of Planning and Finance Kwak Pom Gi, 1st Vice (senior deputy) Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department Jo Yon Jun, along with “vice-premiers of the Cabinet, diplomatic envoys of foreign countries and members of the military attaches corps here.” Watching the event were “officials of the party central leadership organ in Pyongyang, officials of the party and armed forces organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, officers and men of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, people from all walks of life, the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front and overseas Koreans.”
The anniversary event began with speakers, led off by VMar Choe Ryong Hae. According to KCNA, Choe said “the 80 odd year-long history of the KPA is one of glory in which it has steadily grown stronger as the main force for accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e under the care of the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu and one of victory and feats in which it met every vicious challenge and shattered war provocation moves of the enemies and reliably defended the party, the leader, country and people” and he “expressed the pledge of all the service personnel to carry to completion the revolutionary cause of Juche that was started with arms in the forests of Mt. Paektu by taking the lead in upholding the leadership of the Supreme Commander as instructed by the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.” KPA Navy Commander Kim Myong Sik said in his speech “even though the U.S. imperialist aggressors try to browbeat the DPRK with super-large carriers and nuclear-powered submarines, they will never evade the fate of the U.S. heavy cruiser Baltimore, which was buried at sea in waters off Jumunjin during the last Korean War, by the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK equipped ultra-modern strike means” and that “seamen waiting for the time of a dueling battle will send to the bottom of the sea all the pirate ships of aggressors, once ordered, and turn the South Sea of Korea into the burial sea of the enemies.”
KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Commander Ri Pyong Chol said “the men of his force are waiting for a final attack order to put an end to the enemies, with firm determination to devotedly safeguard the Party Central Committee headed by Kim Jong Un and the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun” and that “the flying corps of a-match-for-a hundred stalwart pilots, once given a sortie order, will load nuclear bombs, instead of fuel for return, and storm enemy strongholds to blow them up.” Strategic Rocket Force Commander Kim Rak Gyom said “the DPRK’s inter-continental ballistic missiles have already set the dens of the brigandish U.S. imperialists as their first target and officers and men of the Strategic Rocket Force are one click away from pushing the launch button. If the U.S. imperialists and their followers dare make a preemptive attack, they will be made to keenly realize what a real nuclear war and real retaliatory blows are like and their stooges be made to feel the taste of horrible nuclear holocaust.”
Following the speeches, KPA units marched past Kim Jong Un. According to KCNA KJU “saluted the columns marching past the tribune of honor in fine array.” The event also included a fly-over by KPA Air and Anti-Air Forces jets.