Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
The DPRK held a series of cultural events and meetings during February 10 to February 16 to mark the Day of the Shining Star, or birth anniversary of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).
On February 16 (Tuesday) the Wangch’aesan Art Troupe’s Chongbong Band gave a concert at Ponghwa Art Theater in Pyongyang. The concert began with the DPRK national anthem and included “Cantata to Comrade Kim Jong Il,” “Shine, Jong Il Peak,” “His Life” and “General, Here is the Forefront.” According to KCNA, the band “truthfully represented the yearnings of the service personnel and people of the DPRK for Kim Jong Il who ushered in a new era of the country’s prosperity unprecedented in the national history spanning five thousand years and guaranteed the eternal future of Chuch’e Korea.”
The prestigious Mansudae Art Troupe performed a revue Song of Sun Will Be Forever at East Pyongyang Grand Theater on February 16. The concert “February Waltz” and included songs “Cantata to Comrade Kim Jong Il” and “General Galloping on a White Horse.” According to KCNA, the Mansudae Art Troup “sang high praises of the feats he performed in providing the foundation for the eternal prosperity of the DPRK and happiness of the posterity and recording the history of the people-first principle.”
On February 15 (Monday) the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport, along with athletic groups and social organizations, gave a performance of synchronized swimming at Ch’angkwang Health Complex in central Pyongyang. Kim Jong Il generally shunned many public activities on his birthday, however he usually attended this event even if his presence was not always reported in state media. Attending the synchronized swimming were Yang Hyong Sop (Vice President of the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium), various officials of the government and social organizations, foreign diplomats stationed in Pyongyang, and various Koreans visiting DPRK.
The synchronized swimming was set to tunes such as “It is Spring Ray and Sun Ray,” “I Think,” “On Road of Struggle Under the Leadership of the General,” “Let Us Not Abandon Revolutionary Faith Though One May Die and “We Will Go to Mt. Paektu.” According to KCNA, the “performers represented with elegant rhythms and diverse changes of formation the reverence of all service personnel and people for Kim Jong Il” and the performance was “acclaimed by the spectators as they reflected the pledge of faith of the army and people of the DPRK to dash forward like the wind along the eternal road of the Chuch’e revolution, rallied close around Marshal Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n).”
The Kimjongilia Festival opened on February 15 (Monday) with various displays of the KJI flower cultivated and arranged by Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK], Korean People’s Army [KPA], DPRK Government and social organizations, as well as floral displays subsidized by Chosen Soren (Chongryo’n; the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan), overseas Korean and DPRK friendship organizations and foreign embassies and businesses in the DPRK.
Attending the opening ceremony were Kim Ki Nam (WPK Secretary and Director of Propaganda and Agitation), Yang Hyon Sop, Kimjongilia Festival Committee members and representatives of DPRK organizations that have displays at the festivals. Kim Chang Do “declared the festival open, expressing belief that the festival would encourage the service personnel and people of the DPRK in their struggle for ushering in a golden age of building a thriving nation this year.”
The annual Paektusan Prize International Figure Skating Festival opened at Pyongyang Ice Rink on February 15 (Monday). In attendance were officials of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports, Pyongyang citizens, DPRK students, foreign diplomats stationed in Pyongyang, foreign defense attaches stationed in Pyongyang and various foreign guests. The ice skating festival includes figure skaters from the DPRK, Russia, Latvia, Belarus and Canada. It included routines set to “The General Will Always Be with Us,” “A Dear Nam,” “The Sound of a Horse’s Hooves in Mt. Paektu,” “Our Father” and “The General Star Beyond the Cloud.” Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Ri Jong Mu “expressed belief that the festival to be held in the idea of independence, peace and friendship would bring joy to the Korean people” during his opening ceremony speech.
The DPRK Stamp Bureau released four new stamps to commemorate the Day of the Shining Start on February 15. The stamps show the state awards named after Kim Jong Il: Order of KJI; KJI Prize; KJI Youth Honor Prize; and KJI Children’s Honor prize.
A visiting performing arts troupe of Koreans residing in Japan debuted its revue Bright Future of My Homeland Under Blessings of February at Pyongyang Grand Theater on February 14 (Sunday). Attending the premier was Minister of Culture Pak Chun Nam, culture officials and Pyongyang citizens. A February 17 performance was attended by Kim Yong Nam (President of the Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium) and Kim Yong Chol (WPK Secretary and Director of the United Front Department). Music and dance performances included “We Extend Glory to the General,” “Attraction and Reverence,” “Snowflake Representing Yearnings. According to KCNA “members of the art troupe presented colorful numbers reflecting the resolution of the Koreans in Japan to take the patriotic road under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un, holding Kim Jong Il in high esteem forever” the dance trio “showed well the unanimous desire and will of Koreans to put the earliest possible end to the history of tragedy of national division forced by foreign forces and live in a reunified country.” The revue included “numbers reflecting the faith and will of Koreans in Japan to live, always picturing the homeland to themselves, firmly believing in Kim Jong Un only, and numbers full of national emotion and flavor.”
A performance of the art propaganda squad of DPRK Cabinet ministries, commissions and other institutions took place at the People’s Palace of Culture in central Pyongyang on February 12 (Friday). Attending the performance were Kim Ki Nam, Yang Hyong Sop, Ro Tu Chol (Chairman of the State Planning Commission and DPRK Vice Premier) along with DPRK Cabinet officials and Pyongyang citizens. The performance, by 25 different performing arts groups, included choral, duet and pangch’ang numbers “President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il Are Together,” “The Glow Over Kangson,” “Attraction and Reverence,” “Do Prosper, Era of the Workers’ Party,” “Let Us Not Abandon Revolutionary Faith Though One May Die,” “We Will Go to Mt. Paektu.” It concluded with “We’ll Travel One Road Forever.”
The Kim Il Sung Youth League Art Propaganda Squad gave a performance on February 12 (Friday) at the Central Youth Hall in Pyongyang. The performance included “General Star,” “Hearing Emotion of That Day,” “The Sound of a Horse’s Hooves in Mt. Paektu,” “We Will Go to Mt. Paektu” and “Glory to General Kim Jong Un.” According to KCNA the performers “paid noble tribute and extended eternal glory to Kim Jong Il” and they “represented the spirit of the DPRK demonstrating the might of a space power and making a leap forward under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un and the proud appearance of young people who created the new legendary tale about youth.”
The annual loyalty meeting held at Mount Paektu near Samjiyo’n occurred on February 12 (Friday). Attending the meeting were General Pak Yong Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), O Su Yong (WPK Secretary of Light Industry) Kim Tok Hun (DPRK Vice Premier), Jon Yong Nam (Chairman of the Kim Il Sung Youth League Central Committee) and various officials and functionaries of the WPK, KPA, DPRK Government, officers and members of the Paektusan Youth Shock Brigade and officials of the Yanggang Provincial People’s Committe, the Yanggang WPK Provincial Committee, Samjiyo’n County People’s Committee and the Samjiyo’n County WPK Committee.
Meeting participants “renews their pledge to hold the leader high in esteem as the sun of Chuch’e and accomplish the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e under the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong Un.
O Su Yong said in his speech that “service personnel and people of the DPRK are filled with the faith and will that the world’s power, the land of bliss where dreams and ideals of people come true will surely be built, as desired by President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, when they staunchly advance along the road of independence, So’ngun (military-first) and socialism under the leadership of Kim Jong Un” and he “pledged to hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the eternal general secretary of the WPK and unconditionally and devotedly implement his idea and behests without any deflection and concession.” O Su Yong also “renewed his resolve to absolutely trust Kim Jong Un, follow him single-mindedly and surely bring the final victory of the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e started in Mt. Paektu with the unshakable revolutionary faith.”
General Pak Yong Sik said that the “the KPA would hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the eternal sun of the great Paektusan power, defend and eternally glorify the exploits he performed in the army building” and said that “if the brigandish U.S. imperialists and their followers infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK even a bit, the KPA will wipe out the enemy to the last man.” Jon Yong Nam said the “Korean young vanguard would become fighters strongest in idea and faith who deeply trust and follow Kim Jong Un in any storm and stress.”
After the speeches there was a fireworks display. Samjiyo’n County also hosts an annual ice sculpture festival around KJI’s birthday. This year, over 1,000 ice sculptures were created by the Ministry of People’s Security Construction Shock Birgade #618. Themes at this year’s ice sculpture included “As the Eternal Sun of Paektu, “Our Brilliant National Heritage” and ice sculptures on display depicted festival lanterns, snow caves, a crystal bridge, the Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-4 satellite and the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station.
Agricultural employees and Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea [UAWK] met at Wo’nhwa Cooperative Farm in P’yo’ngwo’n County, South P’yo’ngan Province on Feburary 12 (Friday). UAWK Central Committee Vice Chairman Han Kyong Song delivered a report which was followed by speeches. According to KCNA the report and speeches said that “the revolutionary life of Kim Jong Il was the one of a peerlessly great man who explored an untrodden path, built a powerful nation to prosper along with Mt. Paektu and added glory to it. Kim Jong Il developed the Workers’ Party of Korea into the party of President Kim Il Sung and put the country on the status of an invincible politico-ideological power, world’s military power and nuclear power.” The report and speeches “called upon all the members of the union and agricultural workers to take the last instructions of Kim Jong Il as a lifeline, unconditionally implement them, firmly equip themselves with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism” and for “fulfilling the grain production plan without fail through a more brisk socialist emulation and thus greeting the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea as a glorious one of victors.
On February 11 (Thursday) the Korean Democratic Women’s Union [KDWU] held a meeting to commemorate the Day of the Shining Star. Attending the meeting were KDWU officials and members of its chapters in Pyongyang. Kim Jong Sun, Chairwoman of the KDWU Central Committee, delivered a report which was followed by other speakers. According to KCNA, the report and speeches said that “thanks to the Day of the Shining Star, the lineage of Paektu, the lifeline of the Chuch’e revolution, has been given steady continuity, the independent dignity and status of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the country and its people have been placed on the highest level and the history of victory of Kim Il Sung‘s nation and Kim Jong Il‘s Korea is going on. Kim Jong Il, who created the glorious ever-victorious history of the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e and So’ngun (military-first) with his strong offensive spirit, working heart and soul with his strong faith of Paektu all his life, will always be alive as the symbol of the great Paektusan (Mt. Paektu) nation.” The report and speeches “called for fully demonstrating the heroic spirit of the Korean women in the era of Songun (military-first), getting closely united around the WPK Central Committee headed by Marshal Kim Jong Un.”
The Sixth National Pencil Drawing Festival opened at the Pyongyang International House of Culture on February 11 (Thursday). The festival displayed 350 pencil sketches divided between amateurs and professionals consisting of DPRK visual artists, school children and KPA service members. Sketches and art works displayed depicted “the three commanders of Paektu” (KIS, KJI and Kim Jong Suk” and portrayed “the reality of the DPRK enjoying all blessings of socialism under the guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.” Kim Ki Nam attended the opening ceremony along with officials involved in culture and arts and Pyongyang citizens.
A photo exhibit of Kim Jong Il’s various public activities, on-site visits and military field inspections entitled “The Whole Life for People” opened at the People’s Palace of Culture on February 11. Attending the opening ceremony were Kim Ki Nam, Yang Hyong Sop and various party and government officials. According to KCNA the exhibit had photos which “showed the personality of the brilliant commander of Mt. Paektu who developed the Korean People’s Army into the powerful elite revolutionary army,” that “deal with the effort of Kim Jong who devoted his all to the prosperity of the country and the people’s happiness” and those “dealing with the revolutionary obligation of Kim Jong Il who boundlessly respected the revolutionary forerunners and feats he performed in firmly carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e and So’ngun (military-first) and providing the eternal foundation for the prosperity of the country.” The exhibit also included photographs of Kim Jong Un and his leadership activities.
University art troupes gave a concert at the People’s Palace of Culture on February 10 (Wednesday). Attending the concert were Choe T’ae Bok (WPK Secretary for Science and Education), Choe Sang Gon (Director of the WPK Science Education Department) and Kim Sung Du (Chairman of the Education Commission). Participating university groups were from Kim Il Sung University, Kim Ch’aek University of Technology, Kim Hyong Jik University of Education, Pyongyang University of Architecture, P’yo’ngso’ng University of Coal Mining, Wo’nsan University of Agriculture and Ch’o’ngjin University of Education #2. The concert began with “O Korea, I Will Add glory to Thee.” According to KCNA the performers “sang high praises of the patriotic devoted service of Kim Jong Il who made high-intensity forced march for the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people all his life.” Other songs performed showed “the outlook on the love of the rising generation by Marshal Kim Jong Un who is glorifying the DPRK into the country of education and the power of talents, true to the intention of the great leaders” and reflected “the burning resolution of the students to become the pillars and talents supporting the country by devoting their youth and enthusiasm to it.”