Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
KJU’s last observed appearance was his attendance at the fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly on April 11
DPRK state media reported on April 13 (Thursday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) observed and guided a Korean People’s Army [KPA] special operations forces [SOF] contest. Also in attendance were KPA General Political Department Director and State Affairs Commission Vice Chairman VMar Hwang Pyong So (Hwang Pyo’ng-so), Chief of the KPA General Staff VMar Ri Myong Su (Ri Myo’ng-su), Director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau and 1st Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff Colonel-General Ri Yong Gil (Ri Yo’ng-kil), KPA Large Combined Unit (taeyonhap pudae; combined forces) #630 Commander Lieutenant-General Kim Yong Bok (Kim Yo’ng-pok), KPA Navy Commander VAdm Kim Myong Sik (Kim Myo’ng-sik), KPA Navy Political Director RAdm Ho Yong Chun (Ho Yo’ng-ch’un), KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Commander Colonel-General Kim Kwang Hyok and KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Political Director Son Chol Ju (Son Ch’o’l-chu).
Participating in the contest “Dropping and Target-striking Contest of KPA Special Operation Forces-2017” were SOF elements of KPA Unit #525 (III Army Corps), Unit #2625 subordinate to KPA Large Combined Unit #630, KPA Navy Unit #252 and KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit #323 along with combat helicopters of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force. Jong Un was briefed about the contest and ordered it to begin.
Smiling he said that “the combatants were very good at dropping from the planes making zero feet flight” and he was “pleased that the commanding officers of those taskforces and pilots of the transport planes properly fixed the dropping place, the flight altitude and the dropping moment in a coordinated operation and that they seemed to have made a deep study of the reconnaissance data about the enemy targets.” Whilst “watching the brave combatants mercilessly blow up the enemy targets,” he remarked that “the commanding officers made correct decisions…those combatants carrying out their duties independently and pro-actively were reminiscent of fierce tigers crossing the mountain ranges in the southern half.”
Following a live fire automatic rifle drill of the SOF element of KPA Unit #525, Jong Un said that “the bullets seemed to have their eyes and they were crack shots never missing targets.” He also said the “contest, successfully conducted in the significant time marking the 105th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) is like the gift of loyalty presented by the powerful revolutionary Paektusan (Mount Paektu) army to the President who worked heart and soul to round off the KPA’s combat preparations” and he urged the service members to “intensify training with national reunification in their minds at all times.” He presented an automatic rifle and a pair of binoculars to the SOF element of KPA Unit #525 as winners of the contest, then posed for a commemorative photo with the contest participants.