North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Observes and Commands Women’s MLRS Contest

Kim Jong Un grins whilst watching a women gunners' MLRS firing contest in a photo which appeared top-center of the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun. Also in attendance is Chief of the KPA General Staff VMar Ri Myong Su (left) and KPA General Staff Operations Bureau Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un grins whilst watching a women gunners’ MLRS firing contest in a photo which appeared top-center of the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun. Also in attendance is Chief of the KPA General Staff VMar Ri Myong Su (left) and KPA General Staff Operations Bureau Col. Gen. Ri Yong Gil (right) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

KJU’s last observed appearance was his visit to the May 27 and January 8 Fishery Stations

DPRK state media reported November 19 (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) observed and commanded a spontaneous contest of women multiple-launch rockets system [MLRS] gunners from Korean People’s Army [KPA] large combined units (taeyonhap pudae).  Also in attendance were Chief of the KPA General Staff VMar Ri Myong Su [Ri Myo’ng-su], KPA General Staff Operations Bureau Director and 1st Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff Colonel-General Ri Yong Gil [Ri Yo’ng-kil], along with KPA large combined unit and corps command staff.

Photos of Kim Jong Un watching an MLRS firing contest which appeared on the bottom-left of the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun (Photos: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).

Photos of Kim Jong Un watching an MLRS firing contest which appeared on the bottom-left of the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun (Photos: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).

According to state media reporting, Jong Un “organized this contest all of a sudden and guided it on the spot in order to estimate and confirm the combat capability of women gunners through the firing contest among MLRS batteries for eliminating enemy helicopter-borne troops dropping on a landing area for an assault, and take steps and raise a hotter wind of training in the entire army the way that the anti-Japanese guerrillas did in Mt. Paektu.”  Kim Jong Un was briefed about the contest.  Whilst watching the women gunners he remarked that they “are doing really well though it would be hard for them to pull MLRS on the ankle-deep sand.”

Kim Jong Un said that there is “a gap between men and women in the limits of their physical strength, but there is no difference between the men and women soldiers in their loyalty to the Party and the revolution, the country and its people.”  He underscored the “need to train the women soldiers as indomitable fighters steadfast in their revolutionary spirit to help them do their shares in the great war for national unification. When the order to fire was given, the women gunners fully demonstrated their marksmanship of never missing targets they have cultivated through a high-pitched movement for becoming crackshots.”

Photos of an MLRS firing contest and Kim Jong Un watching it which appeared bottom-right on the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun (Photos: KCNA/Rodong Sinmun).

Photos of an MLRS firing contest and Kim Jong Un watching it which appeared bottom-right on the front page of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun (Photos: KCNA/Rodong Sinmun).

Whilst watching the contest unfold, Jong Un stressed that “commanding officers should be well aware of why he organized the contest all of a sudden” and underscored the “need for them to prepare all gunners to be capable of hitting targets whenever and wherever they are ordered to fire.”  He emphasized that “to this end, the training of artillery units should be conducted under the simulated conditions of an actual battle.”  Jong Un said that “the training irrelevant to an actual war is not necessary no matter how frequently it is conducted and soldiers would to pay dearly in combat for such training.”  He also said that “ardent patriotism and loyalty of the commanding officers and their warm love for soldiers are manifested in remaining strict with soldiers in training.”

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with participants in the MLRS contest which appeared on the top center of page 2 of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with participants in the MLRS contest which appeared on the top center of page 2 of the November 19, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un issued instructions to “round off the combat readiness of the KPA and bolster up its artillery force.” A women MLRD battery subordinate to the IX Army Corps placed first in the contest and “prizes personally prepared by” Kim Jong Un “were conveyed to the winners.”  He shook the hands of the winners individually and had a commemorative photo taken with the contest participants.

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