North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI’s 4th Visit to Huichon Power Station Site

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visits a construction site for the Heechon Power Station in Jakang Province. The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released the photo on Dec. 23, but did not clarify when it was taken. (KCNA-Yonhap)

Kim Chong-il made his fourth visit of 2010 to the Huichon Power Station.  The visit seems to be part of a seasonal swing through Chagang Province.  On 21 December the DPRK media reported that Kim Chong-il visited the Huichon Yonha General Machinery Plant.  The Huichon Power Station was the first locale he was reported to have visited in 2010.  Yonhap reports:

“Making the rounds of construction sites alive with a high-pitched labor drive, (Kim) was greatly pleased with the rapid progress made in the project,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

“The devoted drive of the builders of the power station … opened a bright prospect for finishing the huge construction before 2012,” the KCNA quoted the 68-year-old leader as saying.

In a bid to shorten the time for construction, North Korea has funneled military resources into the project, mobilizing troops as construction workers since last year. Kim’s first visit this year to the Huichon power plant in the northwestern region was in January.

Kim was accompanied by his third son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, and his sister, Kim Kyong-hui, both four-star generals, during his recent visit to the 300,000-kilowatt plant, the KCNA said. As customary, the report did not give the exact date of the visit, but North Korea’s official media usually report on Kim’s public activities a day or later after they take place.

Despite reports that list Kim Chong-un second to his father, the morningstar general seems to be following his aunt’s lead and taking a lower profile (or being compelled so to do).  Meanwhile, in an interview to promote a new book on the Kims, Kenji Fujimoto told Chosun Ilbo about Kim Chong-un’s appreciation for scotch whilst hauling on YSL’s:

Kim Jong-il told Jong-un since he was 15 that a man had to hold his liquor and allowed him to drink, but ordered him not to smoke. Jong-un favored Johnny Walker whisky and secretly smoked Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes with Fujimoto. He had a Mercedes 600 sedan and was fond of South Korean pop music and the Super Mario Brothers and Tetris computer games.

Fujimoto recalled Jong-un once told him, “I roller blade, play basketball and go jet skiing in the summer, but I wonder how other people live.” he visited Tokyo Disney Land with his mother Ko Young-hui.

This photo released by official news agency KCNA of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Dec. 22, 2010 shows Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, inspects the Huichon Ryonha General Machinery Plant in Chagang-do, the DPRK. Kim Jong Il underscored the need to powerfully push ahead with the modernization based on the latest science and technology in all sectors and at all units during the inspection.(Xinhua/KCNA)

An affiliate of 38 North