North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Meets with Cuban Delegation and Attends Concert (revised)

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (second from left) and a senior Cuban government delegation at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un poses for a commemorative photo with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (second from left) and a senior Cuban government delegation at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the Sinu’iju Measuring Instrument Factory

Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) met with a delegation of senior Cuban Government officials and attended a concert with them on September 8 (Monday).  The concert Jong Un attended included an appearance by the Moranbong Band, directly refuting speculation in ROK media that the three-year old band had been dissolved in favor of other musical groups.  

Attending Jong Un’s meeting, held at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang, with the Cuban delegation was Kim Yang Gon (Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Secretary and Director of the United Front Department). The Cuban delegation, on a visit to the DPRK to mark the 55th anniversary of DPRK-Cuba relations, included Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Rogelio Sierra Díaz and Cuban Ambassador to the DPRK Germán Hermín Ferrás Álvarez.

Kim Jong Un greets Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015.  Also in attendance is WPK Secretary and Director of the United Front Department Kim Yang-ko'n (left) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un embraces Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015. Also in attendance is WPK Secretary and Director of the United Front Department Kim Yang-ko’n (left) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un “warmly welcomed the DPRK visit by the Cuban state delegation on the 55th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and asked the head of the delegation to convey his greetings to Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz and Comrade Raúl Castro Ruz.”  According to Cuban state media, KJU conveyed “affectionate greetings” to the Castro Brothers.  Jong Un remarked that Fidel and Raúl are “close friends, comrades and comrades-in-arms of the Korean people, sent to the DPRK the state delegation of the Republic of Cuba one month before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, a great encouragement to the service personnel and people of the DPRK who working hard to build a thriving socialist country.  The DPRK visit by the Cuban state delegation is of weighty significance in instilling the history and tradition of the friendship between the DPRK and Cuba into the rising generation and further developing the fraternal relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.  The invincible vitality of DPRK-Cuba friendship [will] be more dynamically demonstrated in the future, too, thanks to the efforts of both sides.”

Kim Jong Un meets with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un meets with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

According to KCNA, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, “conveyed to Kim Jong Un a cordial greeting” from Fidel and Raúl Castro and thanked him “for receiving the delegation though he is busy leading the drive for building a thriving nation.”  Díaz-Canel also said, according to KCNA, the “friendly relations between the two countries provided by President Kim Il Sung [Kim Il-so’ng] and Kim Jong Il [Kim Cho’ng-il] together Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz and Comrade Raúl Castro Ruz are developing under the special care of Marshal Kim Jong Un and Comrade Raúl Castro Ruz.”

Kim Jong Un meets with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015.  Also in attendance is WPK Secretary Kim Yang-ko'n (background, left). (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un meets with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez in Pyongyang on September 7, 2015. Also in attendance is WPK Secretary Kim Yang-ko’n (background, left). (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Díaz-Canel also noted that the “Cuban party and government are rejoiced over the great achievement the Korean people are making in the drive for building a thriving socialist nation under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.  Cuba and the DPRK are far away from each other geographically but they are firmly united with common ideology and friendship and the two peoples are comrades-in-arms standing together in the forefront for independence against imperialism.  It is the steadfast policy of the party and government of Cuba to steadily develop the Cuba-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.”

Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (left) talks with Kim Jong Un after Jong Un received a senior Cuban government delegation visiting the DPRK to commemorate the 55th anniversary of relations between the two countries (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (left) talks with Kim Jong Un after Jong Un received a senior Cuban government delegation visiting the DPRK to commemorate the 55th anniversary of relations between the two countries (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The interaction between Kim Jong Un and the Cuban delegation “proceeded in a friendly and amicable atmosphere,” according to KCNA.  After the meeting, the Cuban delegation presented state gifts to Jong Un and a commemorative photo op was held.

Kim Jong Un and Cuban Vice Preisdent Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (right) arrive at the venue of a concert held to mark the 55th anniversary of diplorels between the DPRK and Cuba (Photo: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).

Kim Jong Un and Cuban Vice Preisdent Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (right) arrive at the venue of a concert held to mark the 55th anniversary of diplorels between the DPRK and Cuba (Photo: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).

Kim Jong Un later attended a concert commemorating the 55th anniversary of diplorels between the DPRK and Cuba.  The concert was given by the Moranbong Band and the Merited State Choir (State Merited Chorus).  Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez members of the Cuban delegation and diplomatic staff of the Cuban Embassy in the DPRK attended the concert.  Jong Un was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu).  Also attending the concert from the DPRK were VMar Hwang Pyong So (Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department), Kim Ki Nam (WPK Secretary of Propaganda and Agitation), Choe Ryong Hae (WPK Secretary for Workers’ and Social Organizations), Kim Yang Gon (WPK Secretary and Director of the United From Department), Ri Su Yong (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Kim Kye Gwan (Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), senior cadres of the WPK Central Committee, the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and the DPRK Foreign Ministry, along with performers and musicians from the KPA and civilian performing arts groups, including the prestigious Wangch’aesan Art Troupe.

Kim Jong Un talks with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (second from right) at the concert.  Also in attendance are KPA General Political Department Director VMar Hwang Pyong So (second from the left) and Jong Un's wife Ri Sol Ju (third from the left) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un talks with Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (second from right) at the concert. Also in attendance are KPA General Political Department Director VMar Hwang Pyong So (second from the left) and Jong Un’s wife Ri Sol Ju (third from the left) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Jong Un waved to the performers and audience members upon arriving at the concert venue.  According to KCNA, “women artistes presented bouquets to him and Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.”  The concert began with the national anthems of Cuba and the DPRK.

The concert included an orchestra piece “Pyongyang is Best,” instrumental and choral piece “Song of the Korean People’s Army” and other tunes of the Merited State Choir.  The Moranbong Band performed “At One Go.”  According to KCNA the performers “sang high praises of the undying exploits President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) performed by providing a great history and fine tradition of firm comradely obligation and friendship between the armies and peoples of the DPRK and Cuba and of the heroic spirit of Chuch’e Korea which working miracles and innovation in the drive for building a thriving nation under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.”

A view of a screen projecting showing film footage of Fidel Castro and late DPRK President and founder Kim Il-so'ng during Castro's 1986 visit to the DPRK (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

A view of a screen projecting showing film footage of Fidel Castro and late DPRK President and founder Kim Il-so’ng during Castro’s 1986 visit to the DPRK (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the concert venue (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Overview of the concert venue (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

The Moranbong Band also performed “Guantanamera” and “Capri Island” to reflect “the noble feelings of the Cuban people” which KCNA reported “delighted the audience.”  According to KCNA when “historic scenes” of KIS and KJI meeting with Fidel and Raúl “the theater was wrapped with emotion” and the concert was “acclaimed by the audience as it firmly convinced them that the long-standing friendship between the service personnel and peoples of the two countries would remain unchanged generation after generation in struggle for independence against imperialism and for socialism.”

After the concert, according to KCNA, “stormy cheers of ‘hurrah!’ resounded through the theater” and Jong Un waved at the audience as he departed.

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