Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his inspection of an island landing drill in the West Sea
DPRK state media reported on February 23 (Monday) that an expanded meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Military Commission was held “under the guidance” of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n). This expanded meeting followed a February 18 expanded meeting of the WPK Political Bureau. In contrast to the Political Bureau meeting which had the feel of a criticism session, negative evaluations of the KPA’s performance were rather muted in state media coverage (“deviations manifested in the work”). In his “historic” concluding speech, Jong Un obliquely referred to munitions production and “clarified the methods of fighting a war with the U.S. imperialists and corresponding operational and tactical matters.”
Attending the meeting were CMC members, senior members of the WPK Korean People’s Army [KPA] Committee, KPA service branch commanders and corps commanders. Among those observed attending the meeting were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Gen. Kim Won Hong (Minister of State Security), Major Gen. Choe Pu Il (Minister of the People’s Security), Ri Pyong Chol (Senior Deputy [1st Vice] Director of the WPK Organization Guidance Department), Gen. Jo Kyong Chol (Director of the Military Security Command) and VMar Kim Jong Gak (President of Kim Il Sung Military University). The meeting began with a moment of silence for late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il). According to KCNA, the CMC meeting “discussed important strategic issues of bringing about a radical turn in the overall work for national defense as required by the prevailing situation and developing revolution.” The meeting also took up “an organizational matter” which most likely involved the appointment and dismissal of CMC members.
In his speech, Kim Jong Un said that “over the past three years since the demise of Kim Jong Il the service personnel of the KPA have safeguarded the WPK and the revolution with pure conscience and clear mind, regarding the loyalty to the party and leader and moral obligation as dearer than their own lives despite the graver situation at home and abroad than ever before. The enlarged meeting is of weighty significance in clearly indicating the future orientation of building the army for carrying out the behests of Kim Jong Il and letting the People’s Army, the main force for the Military-First (So’ngun) revolution, win victories in defending socialism and all sectors for building a thriving nation this year so as to successfully greet the 70th anniversaries of the WPK and the liberation of the country as grand political festivals.”
Jong Un “reviewed the work of the KPA” and “set forth the ways of carrying out its work for this year.” According to KCNA he remarked that “last year the service personnel of the KPA grew stronger in their faith and will to hold President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the eternal sun of Chuch’e and accomplish the Military-First (So’ngun) revolutionary cause under the guidance of the party and the politico-ideological might and combat capabilities of the KPA were remarkably bolstered up and the foundation for supply service was consolidated to open a prospect for satisfactorily solving the issue of service personnel’s living” and he “pointed to the deviations manifested in the work of the KPA last year and set forth a strategic line to be always held fast to by the KPA which has a responsible duty of national defense and tasks and ways for developing the revolutionary armed forces.”
Kim Jong Un “underlined the need to implement the line of making the KPA politically, ideologically and morally stronger as required by the developing reality in which the cause of Chuch’e-oriented army-building has reached a higher level.” He emphasized “the need for the KPA to focus all its efforts on rounding off combat readiness this year” and said “it was necessary to simplify the machinery of the KPA and indicated the orientation and ways for reorganizing the machinery in such a way as to realize the strategic intention of the Supreme Command any time.” Jong Un also called on “the KPA to be fully ready to react to any form of war to be ignited by the enemy, he clarified the methods of fighting a war with the U.S. imperialists and corresponding operational and tactical matters.” According to KCNA, he also said that “our revolution advances, keeping pace with the KPA, and the pace of the KPA precisely means the speed of the advance of our revolution. The KPA should dash ahead like the wind in the van to be followed by the whole country in its speed and thus bring earlier a rosy future of the great Paektusan nation. “