|▲ The new statues outside the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces (© Yonhap)|
Following an extended period spent reviewing military units in outlying regions of North Korea, Kim Jong Eun has paid a visit to new statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il housed outside the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces in Pyongyang.
Rodong Shinmun reported the news today, explaining that Kim “sought out the statues of the great Suryeong and fatherly General kept by the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces (MPAF) to pay his deepest respects on the way back from observing the eastern front.”
The piece also revealed in both text and photo that Kim was accompanied on the visit to the statues, which were erected outside the MPAF building to commemorate August 25th, the date upon which Pyongyang claims the military-first revolutionary leadership was launched 52 years ago, by wife Ri Sol Joo. The pair laid flowers at the foot of the statues.
|▲ Kim Jong Eun and Ri Sol Joo prepare to lay flowers at the foot of the statues (© KCNA) |
Kim was apparently very impressed by the new creations, declaring, “In particular, the sculptors did a very fine job of creating the form of the great Suryeong’s coat and the fatherly General’s padded clothing, items that are so close to the hearts of our military and people alike.”
Choe Ryong Hae, who directs the General Political Bureau of the Chosun People’s Army, Chief-of-Staff Hyon Yong Chol and MPAF Minister Kim Jeong Gak joined Kim and Ri on the visit.
The statue visit is likely to mark the end of a carefully choreographed period of onsite guidance visits to military locations, a period that began in the first week of August following two months without military involvement in the Kim schedule. Kim’s visits to military bases were covered by Rodong Shinmun on August 7th, 8th 18th, 24th, 28th and 29th, as well as his attendance at events to commemorate the 25th which were reported on the 26th.
The consecutive military visits not only corresponded with the anniversary of the “revolutionary military-first leadership”, but also with the period of the annual combined U.S.-South Korea ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ military exercises, which began on August 20th and end tomorrow.