Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 17 August (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the construction of the Masik Pass (Masingnyo’ng) Ski Resort and inspected Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit 3404. Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at a men’s soccer game in Pyongyang on 14 August.
Kim Jong Un’s first visit was to the construction of the Masik Pass Ski Resort in Kangwo’n Province. Among those attending his visit to the construction were VMar Choe Ryong Hae (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Pak Tae Song (Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Department Deputy [vice] Director), Hwang Pyong So (Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department), Kim Pyong Ho (Deputy Director of the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department), Ma Won Chun (KWP Department Deputy Director and a leading party construction boss), Col. Gen. Jon Chang Bok (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Col. Gen. Kim Yong Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff and Chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau) and Col. Gen. O Kum Chol (Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff). According to a 9 August Rodong Sinmun editorial “the soldier builders and combatants of various units, who embraced the historic written appeal of the respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong Un and increased the speed of general construction by more than two times by rising up in greater effort, successfully completed construction of the framework for large buildings and dozens of employee residences and actively pushed forward interior and exterior plaster work on all projects in July, when the deeply meaningful War Victory Day is observed, “that the “success of the soldier builders and combatants of various units who took part in the Masingnyo’ng Ski Resort construction and rapidly accelerated and completed building framework construction for approximately 20 projects while overcoming rugged mountainous topography and the unfavorable weather conditions of the monsoon season is a precious outcome of the spirit of do-or-die implementation in our army and people, who ride the swift steed of the leap that the respected and beloved marshal bestowed and dash like a gale wind toward the pinnacle of victory” and that “even in weather conditions of heavy rainfall, construction unit commanders and combatants created the great innovation of executing overwhelming construction tasks far ahead of schedule by powerfully igniting the flame of the blitzkrieg, the multi-dimensional war.”
After arriving at the ski resort’s construction, Kim Jong Un was given a progress report and “expressed his great satisfaction over the fact that the soldier-builders and members of shock brigades of various units have wound up the frame assembling of more than 20 structures by pushing forward it at a high speed despite rough terrains and bad weather in rainy season.” According to KCNA he said that “a breakthrough has been made towards the successful construction of the ski resort” and added “it is a miracle which can be worked only by service personnel and people of the DPRK who are the fighters ready to flatten any mountain and empty even a sea in response to an order or instruction of the party.”
He toured the construction of a hotel, a guesthouse, service facilities and skate park. Whilst touring the hotel, according to KCNA, “he underscored the need to build all floors and aspects of construction to suit the features of the mountainous area and match its natural environment.” He was briefed about the installation of a ski lift and said “to step up it so that skiers may use it up to the peak of Taehwa Hill more than 1 360 m (4, 462 feet) above the sea level from the coming winter.” Kim Jong Un noted that the Masik Pass and it surrounding area had “undergone a dramatic change when comparing it with what he saw on May 26” and “highly appreciated the world-startling labor feats the builders have performed in the construction.” According to KCNA he “called for further rounding off the skiing courses and carrying out without fail daily quotas for each process of the projects including hotel, service buildings, lodging quarters and cableway service” and “urged the Cabinet, ministries and national institutions to take thorough measures for supplying necessary materials. He also called on the factories and enterprises in charge of building materials and equipment to implement their tasks without fail.” He said that “the ski resort is a monumental edifice of eternal value to be used by the people even in the distant future, while enjoying wealth and prosperity under socialism, and it is also one of the icons of a highly civilized nation” and reiterated “the need for the builders to ensure the construction at the highest level so that they may be responsible for its safety and guarantee its absolute quality for all eternity.” Kim Jong Un also “called on the builders to construct a world-class ski resort and provide the people, youth and children with a more civilized and happier living conditions so that cheerful laughter under socialism and loud shouts of hurrah for the WPK may be heard from the area of Masik Pass.”
Kim Jong Un also inspected KPA Unit #3404. He was accompanied by VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Director of the KPA General Political Department. After arriving at the unit, he received a salute from members of its command element. He toured a revolutionary historical exhibition on his grandfather, late DPRK President and founder Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng), and his father, late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il). He learned about the history of KPA Unit #3404, viewing historic artifacts and information and “looked back with deep emotion on the history of the unit’s development.” According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “highly praised the unit for achieving many successes through a dynamic drive for making combat preparations and bolstering up fighting capability, true to the noble intentions of the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.” He also examined and appreciated inventions and products of KPA Unit #3404. Prior to attending a commemorative photo session with officers and service members, Kim Jong Un “expressed expectation and belief that servicepersons of the unit would successfully discharge their mission and role as standard-bearers and shock brigade upholding the Military-First (So’ngun) politics of the party.”