N. Korea’s security agency emphasizes “loyalty” on Army Day

Political study materials published by the Ministry of State Security extol the loyalty of revolutionary Kim Hyok toward Kim Il Sung

loyalty informant illegal border
A Ministry of State Security office in the Sino-North Korean border region. / Image: Daily NK

New documents acquired by Daily NK provide a glimpse into the political and ideological education North Korea’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) recently conducted for its military units in commemoration of Army Day on Feb. 8.

The materials extolled the loyalty of Kim Hyok, who, according to North Korean propaganda, fought alongside Kim Il Sung during his fight against the Japanese, a time known as the “Revolutionary Struggle” in North Korea. 

The study materials were published as North Korea continues to promote a new revolutionary slogan called “Mt. Paektu University,” which refers to a recent movement that encouraged North Koreans to visit revolutionary battle sites. 

Their publication appears aimed at reminding MSS officials about their role as protectors of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and that they need to be armed with “revolutionary spirit” amid a complex political environment at home and abroad.


Entitled “The Revolutionary Poet Who Cried, Long Live Hanbyeol (Kim Il Sung),” the study materials were published and issued by the MSS on Feb. 1.

Starting Feb. 3, the materials were used in lectures conducted in military units, including the country’s border patrol, a military source told Daily NK on Feb. 6. 

The materials accorded high praise to “revolutionary poet” Kim Hyok, stating that he “stood on the first peak of the revolution and wrote and popularized the first ode of faith in the Suryong [Kim Il Sung]. In his last moments he cried Long Live Hanbyeol [Kim Il Sung] at the top of his lungs, causing the enemies to shake in fear.”

lecture materials
An image of the political study materials the MSS published for Army Day on Feb. 8. / Image: Daily NK

The study materials further stated that “Despite being commander of Korea’s first communist revolutionary organization, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, for only a few years, Kim Hyok’s life stands as a shining example of how a soldier of the Suryong should fight.” 

The materials went on to say that Kim became surrounded by the enemy while working at a secret liaison office in Harbin, China, in the 1930s. “During this encounter, he resolved to maintain his revolutionary integrity and avoid being arrested, so he jumped off the third floor [of the office],” the materials said, adding, “After that, he suffered severe torture and abuse in prison, where he died.”


Broadly, the documents stressed the loyalty of Kim Hyok toward Kim Il Sung and emphasized that MSS officials should prepare themselves to be equally loyal to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“During political study sessions held by each MSS battalion, they were told that in order to protect the secrets of the Suryong and the revolutionary organization, they must show the same degree of loyalty shown by Kim Hyok, who sacrificed his youth without hesitation,” Daily NK’s military source explained. 

“The lectures also emphasized the idea that soldiers must be prepared to stand at the very tip of the frontline to protect the leadership of the revolution,” he added.

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