Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 28 May (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the 25 August** Fishery Station subordinate to Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit #313***. His last observed appearance was his field inspection of KPA Navy Unit #291. Attending Kim Jong Un’s visit to the fishery station were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of KPA General Political Department), Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Col. Gen. Son Chol Ju, Col. Gen. Ryom Chol Song, Col. Gen. Jon Chang Bok (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Col. Gen. Yun Tong Hyon (Senior Deputy Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Organization Guidance Department), Col. Gen. Jo Kyong Chol (Chief of the Military Security Command), Maj. Gen. An Ji Yong, Lt. Gen. Kim Su Gil and Hwang Pyong So (Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department).
Kim Jong Un began his visit to the fishery station greeting military and civilian personnel who manage the fishery. According to KCNA, he said “the fishery station should catch a lot of fishes with good fishing boats and supply the soldiers on the forefront with them all the year round so that the fishing boats provided by the Party may pay off profusely.” He climbed aboard a fishing boat and toured the engine room to learn about the ship’s engine and fuel consumption. He also toured the cabins utilized by the fishing crew and said that “an experience gained by a fishery base in effectively using spent fuel, underscoring the need to make sure that fishermen can have rest in a warm place as their hands are wet in cold water of rough sea.” Kim Jong Un also instructed that each fishing boat should catch 1,000 tons of fish per year and that the fishery station managers should “write a letter to the Supreme Commander when they honor their plan.” Whilst touring the fishing boat, Kim Jong Un mentioned that the KPA is engaged in a campaign to grow soybeans,”calling for successfully conducting both soybean growing and fishing operations to provide the soldiers with soybean and fishes all the year round.” He also named the fishing boat he toured “naming it ‘maple,’ symbolic of autumn.”
Kim Jong Un also visited a historical exhibition about the fishery and a monument denoting late leader Kim Jong Il’s visit to the fishery station on 25 August 1973. He also toured a tackle shop and a refrigeration unit. According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “called on the fishery station to undertake aquaculture on a large scale while catching a lot of fishes in order to boost aquatic products, adding that it is necessary to cultivate seaweed, tangle, mussel, etc. in a big way” and he said he “visited the supply base on the east coast under KPA Unit 639 a few days ago where he saw it providing good supply service and catching a lot of fishes by putting fishing operations on a scientific basis, urging them to follow the working style and experience of the officials at that unit.” Kim Jong Un ended his visit to the 25 August Fishery Station of KPA Unit #313 by posing for commemorative photographs with the fishery station’s military and civilian managers and employees.
Kim Jong Un’s visit to the 25 August Fishery Station was the first public event in which all of the senior KPA officials affected by personnel changes during February to May 2013 were present. This was the first observed occasion in DPRK state media that gathered Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau, appointed February 2013), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, appointed May 2013), Col. Gen. Jon Chang Bok (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, appointed May 2013) and Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Chief of the KPA General Staff, appointed May 2013).
**The fishery station of KPA Unit #313 is named after the date (25 August) in 1960 when Kim Jong Il inspected the 105th Tank Division. The DPRK’s official history marks this as the beginning of Military-First (so’ngun) politics.
***In previous mentions in DPRK state media, KPA Unit #313 had been identified as “KPA Large Combined (taeyonhap pudae) #313.” It is not clear whether DPRK news writers streamlined the nomenclature of the KPA unit or if KPA Unit #313 had been downgraded from a large combined unit (a KPA unit consisting of several combined units) with its assets merged or migrated to other KPA units as part of a force restructuring process in the KPA.