Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 25 December (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the command element of Korean People’s Army [KPA] Unit #526. Also in attendance were VMar Choe Ryong Have (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Gen. Jang Jong Nam (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Col. Gen. So Hong Chan (1st Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Lt. Gen. Kim Su Gil (Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), Lt. Gen. Pak Jong Chon (Commander, Artillery Command), Pak T’ae Song (Deputy Director of the KWP Organization Guidance Department) and Kim Tong Hwa. Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun on 24 December.
Kim Jong Un visited KPA Unit #526’s command element to mark the 22nd anniversary of his father, late leader Kim Jong Il’s (Kim Cho’ng-il) assumption of the KPA Supreme Command. According to KCNA he said “leader Kim Jong Il’s assumption of supreme commandership of the revolutionary armed forces marked a historic event of great significance in developing the powerful revolutionary Paektusan (Mt. Paektu) army and carrying out the cause of socialism, and a great auspicious national event which provided a firm guarantee for the destiny and future of the country. Kim Jong Il ushered in the greatest heyday of the development of the revolutionary armed forces with his rare wisdom, outstanding commanding art and matchless guts” and that “Kim Jong Il strengthened the People’s Army into the invincible revolutionary forces, placed all people under arms and turned the whole country into a fortress and thus put the country on the position of the world’s military super power. These undying exploits will shine for all ages.” He also “underlined the need to always remember the brilliant annals in which all service personnel and people performed epoch-making miracles and brought about innovations in their struggle for protecting socialism and building a thriving nation, weathering storm and stress unprecedented in history under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, and significantly commemorate December 24, the day when he was held in high esteem as supreme commander of the KPA.”
He toured the unit’s historical exhibition and its revolutionary history education rooms where he remembered “with deep emotion the undying exploits of the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il recorded in the annals of the unit’s history” and said “it was thanks to their wise leadership and meticulous care that the unit has grown to be a powerful and matchless combat unit.” He also praised “the unit for arranging well the above-said rooms and conducting effective education of its service personnel through them” and “underscored the need for the unit to intensify the education of them in the undying leadership exploits of the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu and thus help all its service personnel add glory to the proud tradition of the unit by performing feats in rounding off combat readiness and bolstering up combat capabilities.”
Kim Jong Un also the unit’s command centers, shooting range and military research facility where he was briefed about the unit’s training activities. According to KCNA he “was satisfied to learn that the large combined unit arranged well the operation command rooms as intended by the party and scrupulously operated the room devoted to military research, thus helping its commanding officers and members of the staff steadily improve their ability to map out and command combat operations” and “instructed the unit to put utmost spurs on rounding off its combat readiness with the firm viewpoint and stand that it should be wholly responsible for its combat readiness before the party, always bearing in mind that a war breaks out without any prior notice.” Kim Jong noted that KPA Unit #526 “has a very important duty to perform” and he “indicated important tasks to be fulfilled by it to bolster up its combat capability in every way.” He toured a greenhouse and assembly hall and “learned about the political and ideological education, supply service and command and management of the unit.” At the end of his inspection Kim Jong Un attended a commemorative photo-op with officers and service members of the command element of KPA Unit #526 and expressed”expectation and belief that the service personnel of the unit would firmly defend with arms the socialist country dynamically advancing toward a final victory, while keeping themselves in perfect combat readiness.”