North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI Steps Out with the MPS

Over the weekend, Kim Jong-il attended a concert hosted the Ministry of Public Security.  This was the inaugural performance of the MPS’s Song and Dance Ensemble, and it seemed to impress General-Secretary Kim who “great satisfaction over the fact that the artistes of the ensemble staged a splendid performance popular in its contents and replete with the spirit of the times with favorite songs loved by the people.”  He last attended an MPS-organized concert by an unnamed art squad in early November last year.

The Ministry of Public Security has recently been vested with the prestige of KJI’s attention recently.  He inspected the MPS headquarters around 21 November 2009.  About a week late, he inspected an MPS-owned fruit farm in the Samsok District of Pyonyang.  Both of these MPS-related visits occurred prior to the DPRK redenominating its currency; the headquarters inspection was week ahed of, and the fruit farm tour occurred one or two days before, the redenonmination.  Minister of Public Security and NDC Member Gen. Ju Sang-song also made a rare official trip to China in late December, 2009.  The MPS issued a joint statement with the State Security Department during the last inter-Korean meeting on 8 February 2010.  Yonhap observes that this was the internal security agencies’ first joint statement.

The MPS concert was also the first occasion where Kang Nung-su was identified as a KWP Department Director.  Mr. Kang recently transferred from being Minister of Culture to Party responsibilities.  It is likely Mr. Kang is now the director the KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department, given his prior Cabinet appointment and career.  There were reports in 2006 that PAD Director Choe Ik-gyu traveled overseas for medical treatment and perhaps Mr. Choe has reached the end of his career.  No matter what hat Kang Nung-su has donned, this represents the second migration of a Cabinet Minister to KWP Department Director, after Kim Yong-il went from MOFA Vice Minister to the International Department.

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