Kim Jong il makes 83 public appearances, 36% to economically significant sites

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Berif no.09-8-3-1

On July 28, Kim Jong Il made his 83rd public appearance for this year. He has been seen in public considerably more this year than in previous years. Of his 83 public visits, 28 have been to military facilities, 30 have been related to the economy, and 2 dealt with foreign relations. As Kim Jong Il has made these visits, he has frequently been accompanied by Kim Ki Nam (57 times), Jang Sung Taek (50 times), Hyun Chul Hae and Bak Nam Ki (40 times each). Jang Sung Taek and Bak Nam Ki’s recent appointments during the April session of the Supreme People’s Committee indicate that they will continue to work closely with Kim Jong Il.

Rhee Myeong Su, Kim Jeong Kak, Kim Myeong Kook, Kim Yeong Chun and other members of the military elite were also seen with Kim Jong Il as he traveled. North Korean official press has covered 83 public appearances by Kim Jong Il between the beginning of January and July 18. This is nearly the number of public visits Kim has made within 12-month periods previously. These public outings appear to be in support of the 150-day battle to boost the economy and the goal of creating a Strong and Prosperous Nation by 2012.

In 2009, 36 percent of on-site visits by Kim have been related to economic campaigns, surpassing the number of visits to military facilities and growing in comparison to previous years. Of the visits to economically significant sites, at least 40 percent have been to machinery or mechanization facilities, as the North promotes new technology and modernization of its industries. Kim has also paid visits to newly opened or under-construction electrical power plants in order to underscore the importance of boosting production.

In addition, Kim Jong Il has visited at least 8 mining facilities. The North’s mines were heavily damaged during floods in the 1990s, and have struggled to recover since then. Kim’s visits have been linked to efforts to restore iron ore and magnetite mining.


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