Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 18 February (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended sports competitions of Korean People’s Army [KPA] service members and a concert of the State Merited Chorus (Merited State Choir) to mark the Day of the Shining Star, the 16 February birth anniversary of his father late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il). Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.
The sports competitions consisted of volleyball and a tug-of-war between the Kalmaegi and Jebi Teams, which consisted of service members of the KPA Navy and the KPA Air and anti-Air Force. Also attending the competition with Kim Jong Un was his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), Gen. Ri Yong Gil (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Col. 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), VAdm Kim Myong Sik (Commander of the KPA Navy) and Gen. Ri Pyong Chol (Commander of the KPA Air and anti-Air Force) along with other KPA commanders and service members. The Jebi Team won both the volleyball game and tug-of-war and the winners received prizes. According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un noted that “that the sports matches between the two teams were played at a high level on the occasion of the significant Day of the Shining Star” and “expressed expectation and belief that the KPA would take the lead in raising a strong wind of sports throughout the country in the future, too.”
Kim Jong Un, again joined by Ri Sol Ju, attended a concert given by the State Merited Chorus at the People’s Theater in central Pyongyang. Also in attendance were Gen. Ri Yong Gil, Col. Gen. Jang Jong Nam, Col. Gen. Pyon In Son (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Col. Gen. So Hong Chan and other KPA commanders and service members. After arriving at the venue Kim Jong Un “warmly congratulated the audience on the significant Day of the Shining Star.” The two-part concert consisted of performances of “The General Will Forever as the Sun,” “General on a Galloping White Horse,” “In the Forest Near the Front,” “Soldiers March,” “It is the Pride of Our Party,” “A Collection of World Famous Music” and “Attraction and Reverence.” According to KCNA, “the performers highly praised Kim Jong Il for performing undying feats with patriotic devotion and efforts all his life.” Kim Jong Un congratulated the State Merited Chorus on the concert and he “expressed expectation and belief that the creators and artistes of the chorus would more powerfully encourage the service personnel and people in their grandiose drive for ushering in a period of prosperity of So’ngun (Military-First) Korea.”