Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to fisheries in Pyongyang
Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) rode a new model subway car on the Pyongyang Metro on Thursday (November 19) night. Also in attendance were Pak Pong Ju (DPRK Premier), Kim Yang Gon (Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Secretary and Director of the United Front), O Su Yong (WPK Secretary for Light Industry), Jo Yong Won (deputy director of the WPK finance and accounting department) and Han Kwang Sang (immediate past director of the WPK finance and accounting department).
Jong Un’s ride on the Pyongyang Metro began at Kaeso’n Station. Touring the subway station he said that “he missed President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) that day more than ever before” and that the Metro “was a precious treasure of the nation and a grand monumental structure as it was associated with the loving care shown by them for the people all their lives to provide the people with conditions for a more bountiful and civilized life.” Jong Un also noted “how happy” KIS and KJI “would have been to see the subway train made by our workers, scientists and technicians run.”
The subway car was tested on the Ch’o’llima Line and Jong Un rode from Kaeso’n to T’ongil to Su’ngri, Ponghwa and Yo’nggwang Stations. During his ride he was briefed about the new model subway car he was test riding. He remarked the car’s performance was “very good” and “its speed is satisfactory and the brake works flawlessly. The subway train looks fashionable and fittings and operation information appliances also meet the modern requirements,” and Jong Un noted “people would like very well traveling by the subway train made by Koreans with the indigenous technology.”
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un also said that “our heroic and resourceful Kim Il Sung‘s and Kim Jong Il‘s working class, scientists and technicians boundlessly faithful to the Party proved in practice, not with words, that the words ‘proclivity to import’ should be eliminated from people’s minds through the successful trial operation.” After the trial run, Jong Un posed for commemorative photos with the transit officials, researchers and technicians from Kim Jong T’ae Electric Locomotive Complex, and other officials, involved in the production and trial service of the subway cars. He “set forth important tasks to be fulfilled to better spruce up the Pyongyang Metro to meet the requirements of a highly civilized socialist nation and put the metro management and operation on a higher modern and IT basis.”
This on-site visit by Kim Jong Un marked the return of former WPK Finance and Accounting Department Director Han Kwang Sang. Han had not been observed in DPRK state media since March of this year. His name surfaced on Ri Ul Sol’s funeral committee, but he was not listed with other party department directors or deputy directors. In May 2015 there were rumors that he had been executed, Yonhap notes that Han was ” reportedly under investigation due to corruption allegations.” Aside from corruption allegations, one might note Han’s return to DPRK public life with Jong Un using (complete with KCNA-supplied scare quotes) the phrase “proclivity to import.”