Archive for the ‘Kim Jong Un’ Category

Kim Jong Un visits Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Automation-Institute-Kimchaek-KCNA

Automation-institute-Google-Earth

Top: Official KCNA photo of the new Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology Bottom: Google Earth satellite image of the facility in the new Mirae Scientist Street

According to Google Earth imagery, construction on the project started around September 2014.

According to KCNA:

Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology

Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, gave field guidance to a newly-built building of the Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology.

He was greeted on the spot by Hwang Pyong So, Kim Jong Gwan, other officials of the relevant field and officers of the KPA units taking part in the construction.

He had promised to make sure that a new building was constructed for the Automation Institute when he was acquainting himself with the work of the institute in April last year.

He chose the site of the institute on the picturesque bank of the River Taedong and guided its layout several times. He not only saw to it that a powerful construction force of the People’s Army was formed for the project but personally settled the issues arising in it.

Enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the institute, he said the institute was successfully built to match the environment around it as required by the layout ratified by the party.

He went round several places of the institute to learn about its construction in detail.

He was pleased that the institute was built in such a way as to visually showcase the party’s policies of attaching importance to science and technology and talents and provide its researchers with ample conditions for their scientific researches and living.

He told officials to fully provide the institute with reading rooms, e-library and video system so that they might help the researchers in their work and study.

Noting that a country can prosper only when a revolution is carried out with a proper view and stand on science and talents, he underscored the need to provide the institute with modern equipment and vehicles necessary for its operation as it was built into a cutting-edge scientific research center. He was so kind as to promise to ensure that this matter would be settled by the party.

He highly praised the soldier builders of KPA units 407 and 101 for fully displaying the revolutionary soldier spirit in the construction of the institute.

He expressed belief that the researchers of the institute would creditably perform their mission and duty as standard-bearers in breaking through the cutting-edge science and technology by carrying forward the tradition in which they have contributed to the cause of the party with their valuable scientific and technological achievements and thus give fuller play to their patriotic enthusiasm and devotion to living up to the expectations of the party, the country and its people.

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Kim Jong Un to shift focus to sconomy starting this year

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2015-6-11

After Kim Jong Un came to power, North Korea made regime stability and unity its priority and launched an intensive propaganda campaign, according to a study.

The Chosun Ilbo and experts on inter-Korean relations recently conducted a joint study in which they analyzed the past 5 years of articles published on the front page the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). The study found that the percentage of articles stressing regime solidarity was 36 percent, higher than any other category. Following that were articles related to the economy (34 percent), the military (16 percent), foreign relations (10 percent), and South Korea relations (1 percent). This contrasts with the year 2011 when Kim Jong Il was in power. That year 51 percent of articles were related to the economy, while 28 percent dealt with regime unity.

However, in 2012, the first year of Kim Jong Un’s rule, the percentage of articles stressing regime unity reached 52 percent. Meanwhile, 21 percent of articles focused on the military, and 18 percent focused on the economy. Thus, we can surmise that after Kim Jong Il’s sudden death in December 2011, new leader Kim Jong Un fully mobilized media like the Rodong Sinmun to build his power base.

In 2013 and 2014, the percentage of front page articles dealing with regime unity was 37 percent and 35 percent, respectively, higher than any other type of article in those years. Thus, in the three years (2012, 2013, 2014) Kim Jong Un has been in power, priority has been placed on consolidating the power structure. During this period Kim Jong Un strengthened regime stability through means such as the purging and successive demotion of party, military, and political officials.

Once Kim Jong Un ascended to power, the amount of coverage related to the military also rose rapidly compared to the Kim Jong Il era. Experts view this as part of the effort to strengthen the foundation of Kim Jong Un’s power. In 2011, when Kim Jong Il was alive, the percentage of front page articles in the Rodong Sinmun related to the military was almost insignificant at 5 percent. But in 2012 that percentage rose to 21 percent, and in 2013 it rose again to 26 percent. Military coverage was especially common around the time of the December 2012 long-range missile launch and the February 2013 third nuclear test. In 2014, articles related to the military decreased; this year they seem to be increasing.

However, as Kim Jong Un approaches the end of the fourth year of his rule, there appears a turn to emphasize economic policy. This year for the first time in Kim Jong Un’s rule the percentage of front page articles about the economy (42 percent) exceeded the percentage of articles related to regime solidarity (26 percent). The North Korean leader intends to make just as much progress on the food security issue as he has in strengthening the foundation of his power. Now, as Kim Jong Un gains confidence in his power status, we might expect him to shift his policy priorities from securing regime support to improving the economy.

From a political perspective, the tendency for Kim Jong Un to honor his father’s legacy is also waning. In 2011 and 2012, articles related to Kim Jong Il’s birthday were continuously published on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun from January to the end of February. But this year the period for this coverage was shortened to five days (from February 14 to 18).

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Gause on Kim Jong-un’s power consolidation

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has not fully consolidated his power and could be marginalized into a “puppet” unless he brings in more money and buys support from within the regime in a couple of years, a U.S. expert said Monday.

That is why Pyongyang is largely maintaining its charm offensive toward South Korea while refraining from major provocations in an attempt to prod Seoul to improve inter-Korean relations and “open up the coffers,” said Ken Gause, a top North Korea expert at CNA Corp., during a lecture.

“The royal economy, which is part of the economy surrounding the Kim family, is losing money. They can’t bring in as much money. He’s having to spend about twice as much money than his father did to buy support within the regime,” Gause said. “He doesn’t have the resources to be able to consolidate his power and buy relationships.”

Power struggles, which have been frozen in place since Kim’s execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek, could thaw out in one to two years, and if those power struggles happen, Kim no longer has the regent structure around to protect him, the expert said.

“He is now directly exposed to those power struggles and he can be undermined by that. Not toppled, not coup, but marginalized and turned into a puppet. I think that would happen within the next two to five years. I really think he needs to do this within the next couple of years,” Gause said.

The economic problem is one of three things Kim must address to consolidate the power he inherited from his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in late 2011, the expert said. The two other tasks are to purge potential adversaries and bring in people and to make progress in defense systems, such as the missile and nuclear programs.

The economic question is why North Korea reached out to Japan and Russia, he said.

“A part of why they reached out to Japan was to put pressure on South Korea. It’s all about South Korea. That’s why they’re playing ball with the Russians right now,” he said. “It’s all getting South Korea to open up the coffers. That’s what it’s about.”

The economic reason also explains why the North hasn’t launched another provocation, Gause said.

“They don’t want to undermine the charm campaign. There’s still, if you read their rhetoric, if you read the media, it does suggest that even though they’re talking a harsh language towards the South Koreans, they’re keeping the door open for potential engagement,” he said.

“If they go and test a missile and especially if they test a nuke, that’s going to really undermine that, especially if they return to something like Cheonan, or whatever. It’s game over at that point,” he said, referring to the North’s 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan.

However, if the North makes a determination at some point in the near future that South Korea is not going to play ball, the North may become much more aggressive in terms of provocations, he said.

Should the North’s young leader visit Moscow next month for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II, it would suggest there’s “stability inside the regime, that he can leave the country,” the expert said.

Another factor that should be watched closely is whether Kim’s second child is a girl or boy, Gause said. Kim’s first child is a girl.

“If it’s a girl and Kim Jong-un were to die or become incapacitated, then you’ve got a major transfer of power issue,” he said, raising the possibilities that Kim’s brother, Jong-chol, could take over or the North could establish collective leadership.

Read the full story here:
N.K. leader has yet to consolidate power, could be marginalized into ‘puppet': U.S. expert
Yonhap
Chang Jae-soon
2015-04-14

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There can be only one Kim Jong-un

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

UPDATE 3 (2014-12-8): The Wall Street Journal points out there are many “Kim Jong-un”s in South Korea and most are female.

UPDATE 2 (2014-12-9): Although there can be only one Kim Jong-un (and previously Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il), the same level of reverence is apparently not reserved for Kim Jong-suk, Kim Jong-il’s mother and former wife of Kim Il-sung. There is currently another Kim jong-suk serving in the South Korean government According to KCNA (2012-11-29):

Jindallae Children’s Foundation Created

Pyongyang, November 29 (KCNA) — There took place at the People’s Palace of Culture here on Nov. 29 a ceremony of establishing Jindallae Children’s Foundation and donating funds.

Present there were Kim Jong Suk, chairwoman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries of the DPRK, and officials concerned and the visiting delegation for the establishment of the foundation headed by Jindallae Saphariny and foreign diplomats and embassy officials here.

You can see a picture of this Kim Jong-suk here (with UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and Ho Dam)

UPDATE 1: Apparently a defector has produced a document from the DPRK that backs up this claim. I have not seen the document.

ORIGINAL POST: According to the Associated Press:

A South Korean official said Wednesday that Pyongyang forbids its people from using the same name as the young absolute leader.

The measure appears meant to bolster a personality cult surrounding Kim, who took over after the death of his dictator father Kim Jong Il in late 2011. Seoul officials have said Pyongyang also banned the use of the names of Kim Jong Il and the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung.

The South Korean official said Kim Jong Il in early 2011 ordered citizens with the same name as his son to get new names and demanded that authorities reject birth registrations of newborn babies with the name.

The official requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. He refused to disclose how the information was obtained.

Although there is no real proof for this story, I find it entirely plausible. The case was the same for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

In open source documents, I have been able to track down at least one other “Kim Jong un”. He published some comments in KCNA back on April 23, 1997.

The moral of the story: If you live in the DPRK, don’t name your child “Kim Jong-anything”.

Read the full AP story here:
There Can Be Only 1: N.Korean Leader’s Name Banned
Associated Press
Hyung-Jin Kim
2014-12-2

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Kim Jong Un’s field guidance in August focuses mainly on economic sectors

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2014-8-18

So far in August, Kim Jong Un’s onsite inspection visits have focused particularly on economic-related sectors – a shift from the previous month, when the young leader visited mostly military bases, providing field guidance on one occasion during a rocket firing drill.

North Korean media continues to criticize the US-ROK Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise (which will be held this month) and increase the threat level by reporting on “continuous military training” and “strengthening of nuclear capabilities.” However, the last few official visits that Kim made were mainly economic related.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 7 reported that Kim Jong Un made a field guidance visitation to a sock factory in Pyongyang and emphasized, “It is important to make good business management strategy.” Previously KCNA reported Kim’s visit to Chonji Lubricant Factory on August 5, and Chollima Tile Factory on August 3.

Kim’s public activities in July, however, focused chiefly on military related sites. He visited Korean Peoples’ Army (KPA) Navy commanding officers, directed their aquatics training, and provided guidance at ground, naval, air, and air defense forces of the KPA for island landing combat training.

Meanwhile, the regime’s new catchphrase “speed battle” is increasingly being used. In addition to public mobilization slogans such as “Masikryong Speed” and “Chosun Speed,” another new phrase has appeared: “Kim Jong Un’s Spirit of the Offensive.”

In order to aggrandize Kim Jong Un’s achievements, soldiers were mobilized to various construction sites including Masik Pass (or Masikryong), Munsu Water Park, and Mirim Equestrian Club. Continually, soldiers have been observed working at ongoing construction project sites, including Satellite Scientist Street in Pyongyang.

During this process, North Korea is vaunting “Masikryong Speed” and “Chosun Speed” — which is a reference to rapid construction — as an important achievement of Kim Jong Un. After the collapse of a 23-story apartment building on May 13, the young leader has emphasized the importance of safety; nevertheless, speed battles continue to be promoted.

In this light, recently North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun published a lengthy article which describes exceptional officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), stating that “the current times call for workers with fighting spirit.”

UPDATE: Below is a list of Kim Jong-un’s guidance trips in August as of the date this article was published:

Yonphung Rest Home for Scientists
Guides Tactical Rocket Test-fire (Hodo Peninsula, Kumya County)
Kalma Foodstuff Factory
Apartment Houses for University Educators [Kimchaek]
Construction Sites of Pyongyang Baby Home and Orphanage Again
Examining Women’s Football of National Sports Team (Kangdong)
machine plant managed by Jon Tong Ryol
men’s volleyball game between the General Bureau of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Land and Maritime Transport
Pyongyang Hosiery Factory
Chonji Lubricant Factory
Chollima Tile Factory [Taedonggang Tile Factory]

These are the remainder of the guidance trips in August that occurred after the IFES article was published. They are predominantly military focused:

Guides Actual Parachuting and Striking Drill of Paratrooper Units of KPA
November 2 Factory of KPA
Breeding Station No. 621 of the KPA

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Two new interesting publications on the DPRK

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The two publications deal with changing leadership dynamics and health care for the disabled. Links below…

North Korean leadership dynamics and decision-making under Kim Jong-un: A second year assessment
Ken Gause, CNS
Publiched March 2014
PDF DOWNLOAD

People with Disabilities in a Changing North Korea
Katharina Zellweger, 2011–13 Pantech Fellow, Stanford University
PDF DOWNLOAD

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Kim Jong-un increases economic inspections in 2013

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un nearly doubled his inspection tours of the economy last year, the unification ministry said Tuesday, underscoring his pledge to improve the country’s economic conditions.

Kim made 71 economy-related public appearances out of a total of 209 public outings last year, the ministry said, citing data released by the North’s state media.

In 2012, Kim made 37 economy-related public appearances out of a total of 151 public appearances.

Kim has called for efforts to boost agricultural output in a country where the U.N. World Food Program says the food security situation is still serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption.

Meanwhile, the young leader visited military bases and made other military-related public appearances on 62 occasions, compared with 49 in 2012, the ministry said.

The figures suggest that Kim still places major importance on the country’s 1.1 million-strong military, a key backbone of the power he inherited upon the death of his father, the late leader Kim Jong-il, in 2011.

Kim Jong-il advocated military-first, or “songun,” politics that channeled the country’s scarce resources into the armed forces, helping him maintain their loyalty.

Kim Jong-un’s public appearances also offered a rare glimpse of the rise and fall of his aides.

In 2012, Kim’s once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek accompanied the leader on 106 occasions, followed in a distant second by Choe Ryong-hae, the North Korean military’s top political officer, with 85.

A year later, Jang accompanied Kim on 52 occasions while Choe accompanied the leader on 153 occasions, according to the ministry.

Choe, a former provincial chief of the ruling Workers’ Party, appears to have secured a position as the country’s new No. 2 figure following the December execution of Jang on charges of treason.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean leader nearly doubles economic inspections
Yonhap
2014-1-14

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Kim Jong-un awarded honorary doctorate in economics

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

According to KCNA (2013-10-9):

Honorary Doctorate in Economics Awarded to Kim Jong Un in Malaysia

Pyongyang, October 9 (KCNA) — Supreme leader Kim Jong Un was awarded the degree of honorary doctor of economics from the Help University of Malaysia.

A ceremony for conveying the certificate and costume took place in Kuala Lumpur on October 3.

Present there were public figures of all social standings including the president of the university who is its establisher, the DPRK ambassador to the country and his embassy members.

The president said it is honor and historic event for his university to award the degree of honorary doctor to Kim Jong Un, who is the first foreign head of state to receive the degree by the university.

We decided to award the degree to Kim Jong Un who makes untiring efforts for the education of the country and the well-being of its people, the president said, adding that this is the pride of the university.

He hoped that the cooperation between the DPRK and Malaysia in the field of education would develop in the future.
The certificate and costume were handed over to the DPRK ambassador.

Foreign Policy follows up with helpful information.

 

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DPRK updates “Ten Principles”

Friday, August 9th, 2013

According to the Daily NK:

The North Korean authorities have revised the “Ten Principles for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System” (hereafter the “Ten Principles”). The phrase “General Kim Jong Il” has been added to the revised version, whose core structure remains in place.

The Ten Principles, each of which has a number of sub-sections, reflect the demand that all North Korean citizens be guided by the thoughts and deeds of Kim Il Sung. They were formulated in the 1970s by Kim Jong Il during the process of his anointment as successor, and act as guidelines that both underwrite Kim family rule over North Korea and facilitate the mass repression of the country’s populace. They are memorized by every citizen.

A source from North Hamkyung Province revealed the breaking news on the 9th, telling Daily NK by phone, “They announced the new Ten Principles in a provincial Party meeting last week. Study of the new Ten Principles was launched in factory and enterprise cell lectures last weekend; we expect them to start study sessions on the new version in people’s units this coming weekend.” Given the timing, it is likely that study of the new Ten Principles will begin in schools when students return in September.

“They have not produced a formal pamphlet outlining the new Ten Principles, so cadres have been disseminating them from their own official documents,” the source explained. “There are no huge differences from the old Ten Principles; they have just added the words ‘the General’ after the name of the Suryeong.”

“The second principle, which used to state that ‘We must honor the Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung with all our loyalty’ has been amended to state ‘We must honor the Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il with all our loyalty’,” the source explained. “They’ve inserted the phrase ‘General Kim Jong Il’ because Kim Jong Il is Kim Jong Eun’s father, and to help make the idolization of Kim Jong Il permanent.”

In North Korean dictionaries of philosophy, the Ten Principles are defined as follows: “The ideological system by which the whole party and people is firmly armed with the revolutionary ideology of the Suryeong and united solidly around him, carrying out the revolutionary battle and construction battle under the sole leadership of the Suryeong.”

According to Yonhap (via Global Post):

The communist country changed the “10 rules of its monolithic ideological system” in June, which have a more direct impact on everyday lives of its citizens than the country’s Constitution or the bylaw of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

The rules were first introduced in April 1974 to outline the importance of unconditional obedience to the leader and what actions must be taken by the country as a whole to express allegiance.

Local Pyongyang watchers claimed that the rules made up of 10 articles and 65 sections were reduced by five sections, with emphasis placed on justifying the inheritance of power by the incumbent leader by highlighting the need for the country to fully complete the legacies left behind by the country’s founder Kim Il-sung and his son and former leader Kim Jong-il.

The move marks the first time Pyongyang opted to change the rules governing the leadership system in 39 years.

“The changes are tailored to reflect the character and goal of the country under Kim Jong-un and to strengthen the leader’s grip on power,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.

In a characteristic dynastic succession of power in the North, the current leader Kim Jong-un took power following the sudden death of his father Kim Jong-il in late 2011.

Every North Korean is taught to pledge loyalty to each generation of the Kim family, known in the communist country as the Mount Paektu bloodline, that has run the country since its founding in 1948.

Mount Paektu, or Baekdu, located on the Sino-North Korean border, is the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula.

The latest revisions to the 10 key rules also omitted all reference to dictatorship of the proletariat and communism. The North had erased all mention of communism from its Constitution and the WPK bylaw in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

In addition, the prologue of the new rules stated that the country has acquired military capabilities based on nuclear arms and that it is in the process of striving for economic self-reliance. The North had proclaimed itself as a nuclear power when it changed its Constitution in April last year.

Related to the changes, the Ministry of Unification said that the recent amendment is part of a continuing process of trying to prop up the current leader.

“The latest move mirrors changes that have already been reflected in the Constitution and other laws,” Seoul’s unification ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said.

Read the full story here:
NK Adds Kim Jong Il to ‘Ten Principles’
Daily NK
Kang Mi Jin
2013-8-9

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Kim Jong-un’s activities for the first half of 2013

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-7-5

Compared to last year, the activities of Kim Jong Un for the first half of 2013 revealed that he took part in more public activities with working groups rather than senior officials.

According to the ROK Ministry of Unification (MOU), Kim Jong Un has made 95 public appearances, which is an increase of 117 percent compared to the previous year of 81 public activities.

In particular, Kim took part in military related activities the most (29 times) as the U.S. and South Korea held joint military exercises (Key Resolve and Foal Eagle) in the earlier part of this year. His other public activities were economic related (28 times), social and cultural (18 times), political (14 times), and attendance at various performances (8 times).

However, starting from April 1, Chairman Kim’s military-related activities from first quarter to second quarter decreased from 50 to 15 percent while his economy-related activities increased from 10 to 50 percent.

Furthermore, economy-related activities this year entailed visitations to production units in machinery factories, cooperative farms, and business enterprises and complexes. The previous year saw mainly entertainment-related activities.

Compared to his father Kim Jong Il, on his onsite inspections Kim Jong Un was accompanied by an entourage consisting of proportionally more working-level officials rather than senior officials. While his first year inspections were accompanied by senior officials, the group accompanying Kim Jong Un are younger and experienced officials in the field. In particular, Choe Hwi, first vice department director of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee, is seen with Kim Jong Un the most. Choe Hwi is a graduate of Kim Il Sung University and served as secretary of the Youth League and senior deputy director of the Korean Workers’ Party politburo.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Unification Ministry estimated the amount of rice reserve in North Korea remains the same as last year, although there is regional variation. Grain imports are at 75 percent against the previous year, and the food ration and situation range widely by region. The market price for 1 kg of rice is 5,000 KPW, which is valued at approximately 1.667 USD, or about 600 g per one USD or 8,000 KRW.

In addition, the MOU assesses that North Korea is making changes in its economic management under the name of “Our Method of Economic Management,” with relatively heavy focus on agriculture, light, and distribution industries. The North Korean leadership seems to recognize the importance of production output in the economic sector. However, it will be impossible to observe immediate results without improvements in raw materials, power, machines, and equipment.

On the other hand, the MOU analyzes that the North Korean leadership is placing more attention on the agricultural sector and improving production and supply of fertilizer since it shows an immediately visible result in the agricultural sector, especially to the North Korean residents. In this regard, the military is also increasingly emphasizing “self-reliance” and the need for “solving food issues on its own.”

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