Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 29 April (Monday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the Yanggakdo Stadium and attended the men’s football finals for the Mangyo’ngdae Prize at Kim Il Sung Stadium. KJU’s last reported public appearance was his visit to the Haedanghwa Health Complex. KJU’s first visit was to the Yanggakdo Stadium which he ordered to be renovated. Attending the visit was his wife, Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), along with VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the Korean People’s Army [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), Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau) and other officials.
According to KCNA Kim Jong Un visited the stadium (originally opened in 1989) “with a plan to radically remodel the stadium as required by the new century.” KJU visited the stadium historical exhibition where he “recollected with deep emotion the undying exploits they performed for the development of the Juche-based physical culture and sports.” KJU then toured the stadium and ordered a series of renovations. He said, “it is the intention of the Workers’ Party of Korea to turn the stadium into a football stadium which can represent stadiums of such type across the country as required by the new century.” KJU also “formed a strong construction unit capable of carrying out the project in a brief span of time.” KJU also remarked that “to develop physical culture and sports is an important work to augment the national power in every way, demonstrate the indomitable spirit and dignity of Military-First (So’ngun) Korea before the world and let all the service personnel and people dynamically step up the building of a thriving socialist nation full of national pride and self-esteem” and he “expressed expectation and belief that the relevant fields would successfully remodel the stadium as a football stadium to be impeccable in any aspect.”
Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Su later attended the men’s football (soccer) finals for the Mangyo’ngdae Prize National Sports Festival at Kim Il Sung Stadium. Also in attendance at the football game were VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, Gen. Hyon Yong Chol, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Kim Ki Nam (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department), Choe Tae Bok (KWP Secretary and SPA Chairman), Kim Yang Gon (KWP Secretary and Director of the United Front Department), Kim Yong Il (KWP Secretary and Director of the International Affairs Department), Kim P’yo’ng-hae (KWP Secretary and Director of Cadres’ Affairs), Kwak Pom Gi (KWP Secretary and Director of the Planning and Finance Department), Mun Kyong Dok (Chief Secretary of the Pyongyang City [municipal] KWP Committee), Ju Kyu Chang (Director of the KWP Machine-Building Industry Department), Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of the People’s Security), Kim Tong Il (Deputy [vice] Director of the KWP Workers’ Organizations Department) and “members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, officials of the party and armed forces organs, ministries and national institutions, those in the sports field, sportspersons, fans and Pyongyangites.”
The match was played between two of the DPRK’s premier league teams, Rimyongsu and Amnokgang. KCNA reported the two teams “advanced into the finals after proving successful at the men’s premier soccer league matches. They played good games, displaying high technique they have cultivated in day-to-day trainings” and that “Rimyongsu Team took the initiative from the beginning according to its tactics and made hot attacks.” Rimyongsu led Amnokgang 2-0 in the first half and went onto win the game 2-1. At the end of the match, Kim Jong Un “congratulated the footballers of both teams on playing a good match, expressing great satisfaction with their high technique.”
KJU also met with DPRK athletes who successfully participated in recent international competitions including long-distance runner Kim Kum Ok (who placed first in the 14th Asian Marathon Championship held in Hong Kong on 25 February 2013), wrestler Yang Kyong Il (who placed second in the men’s 55 kg freestyle at the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championship), gymnast Ri Se Gwang (who placed first in the vault event at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Series in Doha in March 2013), wrestler Hwang Ryong Hak (who placed first in the men’s 60 kg freestyle at the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championships), Pak Yong Mi (who placed first in the women’s 48 kg freestyle at the 2013 Asian Wrestling Championships), judoka Hong Kuk Hyon (who placed first in the women’s 73 kg weight class at the Asian Judo Championships of 2013 in Bangkok in April 2013), weightlifter Ri Su Hyon (who won three gold medals in the women’s 44 kg competition at the 2013 International Weightlifting Federation’s Youth World Championships in Tashkent in April 2013), Kwon Yong Gwang (who won three gold medals in the men’s 62 kg competition at 2013 IWF Youth World Championships in Tashkent) and weightlifter Pak Jong Ju (who came in second overall and won two medals in the men’s 50 kg competition at the IWF Youth World Championships in Tashkent), along with “a coach and physical culture and sports guidance officials.”
Kim Jong Un shook hands with the DPRK athletes and, according to KCNA, “highly praised them for proving successful at the recent international games and instilling the conviction of victory and optimism into the service personnel and people of the DPRK dynamically pushing forward the building of a thriving socialist nation despite harsh sanctions and strong pressure of the enemies.” KJU also “expressed his belief that sports persons and coaches would undergo more intensive trainings to consolidate the successes achieved and fully demonstrate the honor of the country with gold medals at international games.” Also attending KJU’s meet-and-greet were DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju, VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, Gen. Hyon Yong Chol, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Tae Bok, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Kim P’yo’ng-hae, Kwak Pom Gi, Mun Kyong Dok, Col. Gen. Choe Pu Il and members of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission.