Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 18 June (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the 18 January General Machine Plant in South P’yo’ngan Province and inspected Korean People’s Army [KPA] Air Force Unit #1017 in South P’yo’ngan Province. Attending his tour of the machine factory were VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Hong Yong Chil, Yun Tong Hyon and Han Song Ho. At his inspection of the air force unit, he was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), Choe Ryong Hae, Yun Tong Hyon, Hong Yong Chil, Commander of the KPA Air Force Gen. Ri Pyong Chol. Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the machine plant managed by Ho Ch’o’l-yong. Ri Sol Ju’s last reported public appearance was at Kim Jong Un’s visit to the Mt. Myohyang Children’s Camp.
Kim Jong Un’s first visit was to the 18 January General Machine Plant. After touring the factory’s historical exhibition, he became quite severe in his criticism of provincial party officials and factory management. This was the third reported public appearance since his accession** at which Kim Jong Un openly disparaged subordinate officials. According to KCNA, “after being told that the construction of the above-said room was not completed even in over two years, he said he learned about what was the main reason for the plant’s failure to put production on a normal footing” and that “the party has stressed that it is important to keep the ideological education ahead of production for raising the enthusiasm of the producer masses, he noted, strongly criticizing the party committee of the plant for failing to accept the party’s policy ideologically.” Kim Jong Un said “I don’t know what officials of the provincial party committee see at the plant and what they are guiding” and he warned “them of their businessmen-like hackneyed way of thinking and work style.” At the construction of a revolutionary historical education area he “watched for a long while piles of gravels and sand and blocks here and there” and remarked “I can’t find proper words to express that mess.”
Kim Jong Un toured an ideological education center and “noted that the provincial party committee should draw a serious lesson as regards the implementation of the party’s policy on giving priority to the political and ideological education.” He was briefed about the 18 January General Machine Plant’s production planning and he toured various sectors of the factory. According to KCNA, he “seriously noted that production equipment of the plant are outdated in view of the requirements of the age of the knowledge-based economy and it is behind other industrial establishments in cultured practices in production and life.” After being briefed about food distribution and other provisions to employees, Kim Jong Un “felt heart-broken when he learned officials of the plant failed to take good care of the living of the employees as desired by the party.” As he itemized tasks to the factory’s managers and party officials he said:
The plant should glorify the leadership exploits o the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It should dynamically conduct the ideological education to give fullest play to the mental power of the workers. It should steadily push forward the work for putting the production processes on a modern and scientific basis. The plant should launch a dynamic campaign to improve the supply service, working people’s material and cultural standards and establish cultured practices in production and life. The plant is faced with difficult and huge tasks, but it can surely implement them as it has revolutionary workers, the technical staff steeled in practice and a wealth of experience and proud tradition.
Kim Jong Un also “expressed great expectation and belief that the workers of the plant would radically remodel it as required by the new century and bring about a great leap forward in the production of modern machines and successfully perform the role as vanguard and shock brigade in carrying out the economic policy of the party.”
Kim Jong Un also inspected KPA Air Force Unit #1017 where he guided “flight drills”. Whilst watching air maneuvers, he said the KPA pilots “were very good in training” and he “praised them for having acquired high flying skills as intended by the party.” According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction, noting that the airmen of the unit are fully ready to make sorties any moment” and he said “I always think of the air routes covered by the pilots to reliably defend the sky of the country.” He “gave an instruction to further intensify the flight training in the future to fully prepare the pilots as death-defying corps and able combat pilots capable of skillfully fighting a modern war.” Kim Jong Un toured a combat personnel facility and hangar. He also visited a monument to previous visits by late leader Kim Jong Il and he “instructed the unit to preserve well the photos of Kim Jong Il and take good care of the monument so as to let airmen and other service personnel always bear his undying feats deep in mind.” Kim Jong Un “stressed the need for the pilots of the unit to make good preparations for the military parade for celebrating the 60th anniversary of the victory in the war” and he “expressed great expectation and conviction that the service personnel of the unit would put bigger spurs to rounding off the combat preparations and thus defend the sky of the socialist country as firm as an iron wall.”
**The first reported public appearance at which Kim Jong Un expressed his displeasure with subordinate officials occurred in May 2012 when Kim Jong Un visited Manyo’ngdae Fun Fair (amusement park) in Pyongyang and upbraided officials for slipshod landscaping and broken sidewalks. The second reported public appearance at which he lambasted subordinate officials occurred in May 2013 when Kim Jong Un inspected the progress (or in his mind, lack thereof) of the renovation of the Mirim Riding Club (f.k.a Equestrian Company of KPA Unit #534; KPA Equestrian Training Company).