Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended the opening ceremony for the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs’ Cemetery in Pyongyang on 25 July (Thursday). Attending the ceremony, according to KCNA were DPRK Cabinet Premier Pak Pong Ju and Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department VMar Choe Ryong Hae. Based on observed external media reporting and images, other top DPRK leaders attending the ceremony included National Defense Commission [NDC] Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek and his wife Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui, Chief of the KPA General Staff Gen. Kim Kyok Sik, KWP Secretary and Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Chairman Choe Tae Bok, KWP Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Kim Ki Nam, SPA Presidium Vice President Yang Hyong Sop, NDC Vice Chairman and Director of the KWP Civil Defense Department VMar Kim Yong Chun. Also in attendance, according to KCNA, were “other senior officials of the party, state and army, delegates of war veterans, officials of the party, armed forces and power bodies, social organizations, ministries and national institutions, families of martyrs, service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, merited persons, citizens, overseas Korean delegations and Koreans from abroad and the chief of the Pyongyang mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front” and “diplomatic envoys of various countries and representatives of international bodies here, foreign delegations, delegates and guests staying here to participate in the celebrations of the 60th war victory anniversary.” Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was a meeting with Syrian delegation at a state guesthouse in Pyongyang on 24 July (Wednesday).
KCNA described the cemetery as consisting of ” the gatepost built in a peculiar style on the basis of formative art around the Memorial Tower of the People’s Army Martyrs, wreath-laying stand “Soul of Heroes”, monument to a poem dedicated to hero soldiers and groups of sculptures” with the “remains of at least 500 martyrs are entombed in the cemetery.” The cemetery has a Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) autograph monument which reads “Heroic feats and undying exploits performed by the service personnel of the People’s Army in the Fatherland Liberation War will always remain in the revolutionary history of our people in golden letters and they will be conveyed down through generations. Kim Il Sung.”
Kim Ki Nam “declared the ceremony of the completion opened” after which Kim Jong Un cut a ceremonial red tape formally opening the cemetery. A floral wreath from Kim Jong Un was delivered to the cemetery, followed by a floral wreath jointly on behalf of the Party Central Committee, the Party Central Military Commission, the National Defense Commission, the SPA Presidium and the DPRK Cabinet. Another wreath “in the name of all Koreans” was also placed at the cemetery . According to KCNA Kim Jong Un and the ceremony’s participants paid “silent tribute to fallen fighters of the People’s Army” and “high respects for the martyrs.” Kim Jong Un toured the cemetery “together with senior officials of the party, state and army, delegates of war veterans, diplomatic envoys of various countries and representatives of international bodies, foreign delegations, delegates and guests and overseas Koreans. “