Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, Chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff, and a KPA delegation arrived in the Cuban capital Havana on 27 June (Thursday) for a five day goodwill visit. Gen. Kim told Cuban state media that the primary reason for his visit was to “appreciate how the (Cuban) people preserve socialism and patriotic traditions.” Gen. Kim also said that Cuba and the DPRK would “continue consolidating relations of friendship and brotherhood” and that the two countries “share the same trench.”
On 28 June (Friday) Gen. Kim and the KPA delegation placed a wreath at the mausoleum of Cuban national hero Antonio Maceo and visited the burial site of Maceo’s deputy Francis Gómez (Panchito). The KPA delegation was accompanied by Gen. Álvaro López Miera, 1st Vice Minister of National Defense and Chief of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces General Staff. Gen. Kim said after the visit that historical sites “should always exist because they constitute an important element in educating new generations. Without these traditions of struggle the history of a country is destroyed.”
Gen. Kim Kyok Sik and the KPA delegation also visited the Grand Rescue Tank Unit of Sanguily, Antonio Maceo Order (Gran Unidad de Tanques Rescate de Sanguily, Orden Antonio Maceo). During the KPA delegations visit they were debriefed about the tank unit’s deployment, doctrine and tactical training exercises. Gen. Kim and the KPA delegation also observed and were briefed about the tank unit’s tactical simulators, the tank unit’s combat readiness and ongoing technological modernization efforts under way in Cuba’s conventional military forces. According to Cuban state media, Gen. Kim and the KPA delegation were going to tour other military units and training facilities, as well as cultural and economic sites on the island. The KPA delegation will depart Cuba on 1 July (Monday).
The last reported KPA senior delegation visit to Cuba occurred in November 2010, and was led by then-Chief of the KPA General Staff VMAR Ri Yong Ho.