Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the August 25 Fishery Station
DPRK state media reported on November 24 (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a concert given in conjunction with the 37th Korean People’s Army [KPA] Servicepersons’ Art Festival. He watched performances by KPA service members from companies subordinate to the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force and service members from KPA Units #549, #264, #233 and #630. Among those watching the concert with Jong Un were Col. Gen. So Hong Chang (Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau), Lt. Gen. Jo Nam Jin (deputy director of the KPA General Political Department and head of the KPA Organization Department), Lt. Gen. Ryom Chol Song (deputy director of the KPA General Political Department and head of the KPA Propaganda Department) and Han Kwang Sang (department director in the National Defense Commission [NDC]).The KPA service member “put on the stage colorful numbers of diverse forms” and the concert “impressively showed the pride that soldiers have taken in the course of turning companies into their dear home pervaded with the revolutionary comradeship and the trait of unity between officers and men true to the intention of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un, and their happy military service under his loving care,” according to KCNA. The concert “well represented the militant stamina of soldiers as stalwart combatants engrossed in military training as well as the looks of soldiers who are performing their duty as sons and daughters of the people.”
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction over the fact that all company soldiers gave a successful performance clear in political standard and high in ideological value and artistry” and he said that “the performance fully reflects the idea, line and policy of the WPK and truthfully and vividly shows the life of servicepersons and that it is a militant performance giving off powder smell and a performance of high educational value replete with revolutionary optimism. Jong Un “gave thanks of the KPA Supreme Commander to the performers and creative officials” and he “expressed belief that those participating in the 37th Art Festival of KPA Servicepersons would work bigger feats in military training and service in the future, too.”
Two notes about Kim Jong Un’s latest public appearance. First, Han Kwang Sang appeared wearing a KPA dress uniform with one-star on the epaulette (shoulder board) indicating he holds the rank of Major General (sojang) and like Ma Won Chun has migrated from the party to the NDC apparatus. Second, VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department) was not observed at this event with Jong Un, however the deputy directors who serve under him in the GPD did attend.