North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI Attends Mass Rally in Hamhung

Yang Hyong-sop, VMAR Kim Il-chol, Gen. Kim Jong-gak, VMAR Kim Yong-chun, KJI, Kim Yong-nam and a man who resembles Kim Yong-il at the Hamhung rally (Photo: KCNA via dprk.blog)

Kim Jong-il attended a mass rally in Hamhung, South Hamgyong, to commemorate the re-opening (or is it un-mothballing?) of the 8 February Vinalon Complex.   Yonhap reports:

North Korea often organizes such pro-government rallies, forcing citizens to turn out to mark major state events including the country’s launch of a long-range rocket and recent nuclear test. But Kim has rarely attended such rallies, limiting his appearances only to military parades or ceremonies to welcome key foreign guests.

Leader Kim and top aides attended the 100,000-strong rally held in Hamhung to celebrate the reopening of the February 8 Vinalon Complex in the northeastern city, Pyongyang’s Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station and other state media reported.

Speaking at the rally were South Hamgyong KWP Committee Chief Secretary Thae Jong-su.  Also reported as making remarks at the rally were Ri  Hi-hon, Director of the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, and Ri Yong-ae, Chair of the Tongbong Cooperative Farm Management Board.

The General-Secretary was joined by:

Present there were senior party, state and army officials Kim Yong Nam, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yong Chun, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Ch’oe Yo’ng-rim, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Ki-nam, Kim Jong Gak, and Kim Il Chol, Chairman of the C.C., the Korean Social Democratic Party Kim Yong Dae, vice-premiers of the Cabinet, chief secretaries of the provincial committees of the WPK, leading officials of the complex and heroes and labor innovators of Hamhung.

Present there on invitation were leading officials of the party and power organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, officials in the fields of science, education, culture and arts, public health and media and leading officials and persons of merit of the province and Hamhung.

Kim Jong-il has not been observed to have attended a mass rally or parade in several years.  In early February, he conducted an inspection tour of the 8 February Vinalon Complex, and returned there a few days later as a follow-up.  Joining General-Secretary Kim at his second visit there was Premier Kim Yong-il, who is also reported to have attended the Hamhung rally.

The rally occurred amid speculation and rumor that the Central Party and KJI were losing their grip on power in the DPRK.  Not so, says Kim Sung-hwan, the Blue House’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Security who told a Seoul forum:

“Kim appears to be in full control of national affairs,” Kim Sung-hwan said. It was his first public speech since he was named to his current post in June 2008.

“The heir apparent [third son Kim Jong-un] also appears to be on a fast track to power,” the senior secretary added. “I’ve never heard anything about power struggles within North Korean leadership ranks.”

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  1. […] the big Viylon factory shindig in Hamhung, but I recommend reading North Korea Leadership Watch for the executive summaries, which have a way of cutting through the pom-pom opacity of the KCNA reports.  It seems that Kim […]

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This article was written on 07 Mar 2010, and is filled under Kim Jong-il, Korean Workers' Party (KWP), National Defense Commission (NDC), Workers' and Social Organizations.

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