Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 9 May (Thursday) that DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju visited a cooperative farm in Mundo’k County, South P’yo’ngan Province and the Pukch’ang Thermal Power Complex. Pak’s first stop was a visit to Ryongrim Cooperative Farm in Mundo’k County. According to KCNA, Pak “encouraged the farmers there in their effort to step up preparations for rice transplanting despite unfavorable weather conditions with the belief that rice precisely means socialism” and he “urged them to decisively boost the per-hectare yield by completing the rice transplantation at the right time as it is decisive of success in the year’s farming.” Pak also “underlined the need to widely introduce the advanced farming methods and technologies, put farming on a scientific basis and boost the production of quality organic fertilizer to increase the fertility of soil and give full play to the advantages of the sub-workteam management system.”
Pak Pong Ju also visited Pukch’ang Thermal Power Complex in Pukch’ang County, South P’yo’ngan. He toured the power complex and “encouraged the scientists, technicians and workers there registering successes in the production of electricity and modernization of the complex.” Whilst “underscoring the great importance of increased electricity production in carrying out the new line of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear force set forth by the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n)” Pak Pong Ju “called for bringing about a boost in the power production in line with the elated enthusiasm of people across the country.”
Pak held a meeting with the power complex’s managers and party officials which “underlined the need to focus all efforts on boosting the power production to suit the position of the complex in economic construction” and stressed the need for the related fields to sufficiently provide raw and other materials to the complex.” Pak held a separate meeting with managers and officials of the Pukch’ang and To’kch’o’n coal mining complexes. That meeting “called upon the field of coal industry to honor its monthly and quarterly production quotas to contribute to increasing power production and improving people’s living standard” and “discussed the issue of improving the standards of material and cultural life of coal miners.”
In April 2013, the top Cabinet official for the DPRK’s coal mine complex was replaced. At the first expanded plenary meeting of the DPRK Cabinet on 21 April 2013, Ri Yong Yong participated in the Cabinet’s debate on the agenda item “the fulfillment of this year’s first quarter people’s economy development plan and on measures for the fulfillment of the second quarter people’s economy development plan.” This was the first occasion at which Ri was identified as Minister of Coal Industry. According to Minju Joson the Cabinet resolved that “the coal industry sector to give firm priority to prospecting and tunneling, to actively introduce advanced coal cutting methods, and to thereby epochally increase coal production and for the collieries to actively introduce coal dressing facilities according to their situations and to thereby decisively improve coal qualities” and “investments should be concentrated in the coal mines in the western region and the coal mines in Anju and Kyo’ngwo’n areas where there are large quantities of coal deposits and where the coal mining conditions are good to further expand the coal production capacity, and firm measures should be worked out to provide with top priority the facilities, supplies, and labor safety articles needed by the coal mines.”
Previously the Vice Minister of Coal Industry from 2006 to 2013, Ri Yong Yong replaced Kim Hyong Sik, who had served as Minister since September 2007. Ri Yong Yong is the former general manager of the Kangdong Area Coal Mine Complex in Kangdong County, Pyongyang.
In reporting on the Cabinet meeting, Minju Joson identified Ri as Minister of Coal Industry.