Second Day of the WPK Congress

Accordingt to the North Korean Workers’ Journal, Rodong Sinmun,  “The second-day sitting of the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) took place on Saturday”. Basically no important annoucements were made.

Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the WPK, continued his report on the work of the Party Central Committee.

Continue reading “Second Day of the WPK Congress”

Hwang Pyong-so, top N.Korean politician disappears from View

North Korea’s army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so has been absent from recent military events attended by leader Kim Jong-un.

Hwang Pyong So, (circled in red), vice chairman of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, and Choe Ryong Hae, (circled in green), a secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers' Party, arrive at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014.
Hwang Pyong So, (circled in red), vice chairman of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, and Choe Ryong Hae, (circled in green), a secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, arrive at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014.

“We’re trying to find out what’s happened,” a government source here said.

Hwang’s name was not mentioned when the official Rodong Sinmun listed the names of senior officials who accompanied Kim when he watched a concert by the North Korean Army band on its 70th anniversary on Tuesday.

He was also missing when Kim watched a military drill and an aerial exercise last Saturday.

Hwang was last seen at a banquet celebrating the North’s recent rocket launch in Pyongyang on Feb. 13.

Pundits say he was likely taken ill. But he could also have fallen victim to ongoing purges that most recently put former Army chief Ri Yong-gil out of action last month. More seriously, this is probably an act of misinformation as the nomination of Ri Myong-su at the head of the North Korean Army. 

According to Yonhap News Agency,  in 2014 Hwang Pyong-so was promoted from being a vice director of the Organization and Guidance Department to the first vice director of the country’s powerful Organization and Guidance Department, according to Pyongyang’s state media.

Hwang Pyong So, born in 1949 and educated at the Kim Il Sung university, is working with Kim Jong Eun since the 2000’s. According to Yonhap,  Hwang accompanied last year Kim Jong-un on 59 occasions in 2014.

North Korea leader inspects rocket launch site with key party officials

According to South Korea media, “the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (and his sister Kim Yo-jong) inspected a rocket launching site in the country’s northwestern region accompanied by key party officials in charge of nuclear and missile development, Pyongyang’s state-run television showed Thursday. Kim Jong-un had observed facilities at the Dongchang-ri launch site where North Korea on Sunday launched a long-range rocket carrying what it called a satellite, according to documentary footage aired by the North’s Korean Central Television”.

Pak To-chun (1), Kim Jong-un (2), Kim Yo-jong (3) at the launching of the missile (image modified, source: KCNA)
Pak To-chun (1), Kim Jong-un (2), Kim Yo-jong (3) at the launching of the missile (image modified, source: KCNA)

His inspection is seen as having been made before the North lifted off its rocket, a move which Seoul and Washington view as a cover for a banned test of intercontinental ballistic missile technology. The footage showed North Korea’s Air Force One flying Kim to the area and a scene of the leader having a discussion with his party officials on the plane, spawning speculation that the North’s leader may have used the Ilyushin IL-62 plane to visit the launch site. Kim’s entourage included Ri Man-gon, who is presumed to have replaced Kim Chun-sop as the director handling munitions in the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. The leader was also accompanied by Pak To-chun, former secretary of the munitions industry department, and Hong Yong-chil, deputy director of the machine-building industry department. Hong is suspected of having led the North’s fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Recommendations/conclusions:

  • In order to sanction North Korean “bad” elites, I propose to halt some business with North Korea
  • Sanction entities which are cooperating with sanctioned North Korean entities
  • We can deduce that the hardliners are taking over in North Korea (nomination of Kim Yong-chol, death of Kim Yang-gon)

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