Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his meeting with senior nuclear weapons personnel
DPRK state media reported on March 11 (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) observed and guided a mobile ballistic missile test and watched a Korean People’s Army [KPA] tank competition.
Jong Un guided a sea port of debarkation [SPOD] ballistic missile test, described by KCNA as a “drill conducted under the simulated conditions of exploding nuclear warheads from the preset altitude above targets in the ports under the enemy control where foreign aggressor forces are involved.” Attending the drill were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), Ri Pyong Chol (Senior Deputy Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Organization Guidance Department), Hong Sung Mu (deputy director of the WPK Machine-Building [Military] Industry Department), Kim Jong Sik (deputy director of the WPK Machine-Building [Military] Industry Department and a ballistic missile expert), and Colonel-General Yun Tong Hyon (Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces with a portfolio in the munitions and logistics industry), along with personnel from the WPK Machine-Building [Military] Industry Department, the Second Economy Commission [Second Economic Committee] and other researchers and functionaries involved in the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. The drill was commanded by General Kim Rak Gyom, commanding officer of the KPA Strategic Force.
After the drill, Kim Jong Un expressed “great satisfaction over the successful firepower strike drill of the strategic force in which high maneuverability was ensured and a correct launching method was applied to different enemy targets as required by a modern war” and he extended “a militant salute to the service personnel of the KPA Strategic Force in the name of the supreme commander.” Jong Un issued instructions and tasks “to be fulfilled to further round off the nuclear weapons operation system and properly wage a Chuch’e-oriented ballistic rocket battle.”
He “underscored the need to put greater spurs to developing nuclear weapons, a new goal set by the party and dynamically push forward the diversification of means for delivering nuclear warheads so as to get ready to make nuclear strikes at the enemies from anywhere on the ground, in the air, at sea and underwater.” Jong Un underlined “the need to steadily improve the nuclear strike capability by boosting the cooperation between the nuclear weapons research field and rocket research field in the future” and issued “militant tasks to conduct more nuclear explosion tests to estimate the destructive power of the newly produced nuclear warheads and other tests to bolster up the nuclear attack capability.”
Kim Jong Un “stressed the need to ensure a prompt and safe operation of nuclear attack system in the state of the nation’s utmost emergency and more thoroughly establish a unitary system of command and control over the strategic nuclear force.” Jong Un said that “the war-thirsty Park Geun Hye (Pak Ku’n-hye) group is now set to launch the most undisguised nuclear war against the DPRK while staging the largest-ever Key Resolve and Foal Eagle 16 joint military exercises after introducing huge aggressor forces including the US imperialist aggressor forces and its satellite troops and even lots of US nuclear strategic means into south Korea, our self-defensive countermeasures should adopts a more preemptive and offensive mode.”
He “declared that the DPRK would make enemies regret their misjudgment made in a wrong time and reckless actions taken without any measure and take a series of Korean-style power countermeasures in succession to this end. If the US imperialists and south Korean puppet group kick off another reckless military action and stage a clumsy farce against the dignified DPRK, prompted by an extreme wild ambition for invading it, the puppet reactionary regime in south Korea will fall, hit so hard physically that it would never appear again. As a strong warning had been served already, it is the only way for the Park Geun Hye regime to exercise prudence and self-control so as to escape a miserable end until the last day of its office.”
Jong Un remarked that “we remain unperturbed in the face of the enemies any dangerous saber-rattling under our eyes, but if they destroy even a single tree of grass in our inviolable territory, I will issue a prompt order to launch attacks with all military strike means including nuclear weapons and strike the Park regime and hordes of the puppet military with deadly baptism of fire so that they may not exist any longer.” He called “on the service personnel of the KPA Strategic Force to clearly show the reckless warmongers what Chuch’e-oriented military counteraction is like” and “issued an order to all the nuclear strike means of the Strategic Force targeting major strike objects in the operation theaters of south Korea and US imperialist aggressor forces bases in the Asia-Pacific region to be always ready for action and fully prepared to fight a decisive battle till the US imperialists and the Park Geun Hye group of traitors are worn out and dispirited with war hysteria against the North.”
Kim Jong Un later watched the 2016 Tank Competition. Attending the competition were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the KPA General Political Department), General Pak Yong Sik (Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), General Ri Myong Su (Chief of the KPA General Staff), Colonel-General Yun Tong Hyon (Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces), KPA service branch commander and KPA ground corps commanders, along with command staff of KPA tank units and faculty members of KPA military academies.
The competition consisted of events in tactical mobility and target firing. According to KCNA, Jong Un said it was “great to see the tanks quickly overcoming obstacles” and he was “pleased to witness the sky-high spirit of the KPA..-tanks represent [that] spirit.” He was “satisfied with the atmosphere of the competition as ‘enemy’ targets were blown up to pieces and resounding frontline-style information and agitation instilled courage into the tank crews, turning the drill ground into a battlefield.” The 108th Mechanized Division placed first in the competition. Coming in second was the tank unit of III Army Corps and the 105th Tank Division, subordinate to the Pyongyang Defense Command.”
After the competition, Jong Un “advanced important tasks which would serve as guidelines for the KPA to make thorough combat preparations” and he “called for organizing more often such competitions very favorable for revving up the militant spirit and zeal for training and bolstering up the capability of the tank crews in the future.” He noted that “in case a war breaks out, tanks should advance, sweeping away everything in their way, and destroy the enemy positions…in order to do so, it is necessary to learn from the fighting mettle and spirit of the crews of Hero Tank No. 312 under the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su [Yu Kyo’ng-su] Guards 105th Tank Division of the KPA which hoisted the flag of the Republic on the top of the puppet capital building during the past Fatherland Liberation War [Korean War].”
Jong Un issued “important instructions to be implemented to round off the preparation of the tank crew for a war.” He said that “we will be the first to get the golden opportunity to reunify the country. If the enemies dare preempt an attack on our inviolable land we should mercilessly wipe them out.” Kim Jong Un expressed “expectation and belief that the tank crews would defend the Seventh Congress of the WPK and successfully adorn this significant year by bolstering the combat capability and rounding off the combat readiness.”