North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong-un's Military Education Through the Looking Glass

Kim Jong-un

In the last successor gossip, Dong-a Ilbo reports that hereditary successor Kim Jong-un presided over KPA artillery drills in January near the West Sea, citing “a ranking source in Pyongyang.”  This seems to add a military credential to the Morningstar General’s c.v.:

The source said Kim Jong Il made unprecedented surprise visits and conducted inspections of the drills at artillery units every month between January and March last year because of his son. The drills were based on Kim Jong Un’s thesis, and the junior Kim was the general commander of the drills.

The Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun in October last year reported on lecture materials designed to idolize Kim Jong Un. “Kim is a genius well versed in modern military science and technology, highly skilled in the artillery field, and has created a new and highly accurate military map exuding a three-dimensional look,” the materials were quoted as saying.

Kim Jong-un is also reported to have received a top-flight education in artillery science at Kim Il-sung Military University.    KJU’s military tutoring is alleged to be conducted behind a one-way mirror:

The source said Kim Jong Un attended the artillery department of Kim Il Sung Military University and received private tutoring. A selected faculty team reportedly gave lectures to him through a glass wall designed to prevent them from seeing him.

Only several professors favored by Kim Jong Un have been allowed to see and talk to him, the source said.

Three other notes:

–The Paketu bloodline does not want for military education.  Kim Jong-il was tutored in military strategy by the late KPA General Kim Tu-nam (younger brother of SPA President Kim Yong-nam).  Sidebranched step-brother  Kim Pyong-il studied at KISMU, and Kim Jong-nam took courses there.  There were also accounts in 2003 and 2004 of KJI encouraging both Kim Jong-un and Kim Jong-chol to learn about the KPA and military science.

–The Pyongyang palace gossip which informs these stories is tending toward the bizarre with a consort/secretary (Kim Ok) being married off to a senior cadre, the purchase of rare animal products in Beijing for medicinal foods and, now, the rumor that KJU’s tutoring is conducted behind a screen.

Choson Ilbo citing Open Radio for North Korea alleges that KJI has bouts of depression, and that succession is proceeding.  This report also alleges that KWP Financial Planning Director Pak Nam-gi has been replaced with an unnamed aide to the Morningstar General.  Meanwhile, KJI despondently puffs Marlboros (reds or lights?) :

“Kim gets angry and fretful so often that his aides don’t dare to look him in the face when reporting to him,” Ha claimed on Feb. 25. “He has also cut the number of on-the-spot guidance tours by less than half” so his third son and heir apparent Jong-un is undertaking them on his behalf.

Pavel Ovsyannikov, the principal conductor of the 21st Century Orchestra of Moscow, visited Pyongyang in September to give a performance and later told a Japanese newspaper Kim smoked Marlboro cigarettes and “had a strong grip” when he shook his hand. He also said that Kim had a sharp memory and used both hands freely. This led to speculation that Kim has recovered his health.


This article was written on 03 Mar 2010, and is filled under KCTV, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, Korean People's Army (KPA), leadership succession, succession.

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