North Korean media has confirmed that Kim Jong Un National Defense University participated in the military parade to mark Party Foundation Day on Oct. 10. This confirms a July 29 report by Daily NK that said students from the school would participate in the parade for the first time ever. 

Rodong Sinmun reported on Oct. 10 that students from Kim Jong Il University of Military Politics, Kim Il Sung Military University and Kim Jong Un National Defense University participated in the Oct. 10 parade.

As an educational institution under North Korea’s Academy of National Defense Science, Kim Jong Un National Defense University has actively taken part in educating and cultivating human resources for the country’s so-called “asymmetric strategy,” including nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and biological and chemical weapons.

In fact, the newspaper’s report said the school had produced countless numbers of defense-related science and technology specialists. 

This is the first time that students from Kim Jong Un National Defense University officially participated in a military parade. Their participation appears to be aimed at giving encouragement to members of the university, which is considered one of the cornerstones in the development of the country’s “new strategic weapon.” 

The country’s state-run media confirmed another Daily NK report in March that said that North Korean authorities had taken measures to mobilize military universities in the military parade.

At the time, a source in the North Korean military told Daily NK that the authorities had directed military schools such as Kim Il Sung Military University to draw up lists of students to participate in the parade – excluding students set to graduate this year – and to practice parade formations.

Besides the schools mentioned by Rodong Sinmun, Korean Central Television mentioned the participation of North Korea’s naval academy and Kang Gon Military Officer’s Training School during its live broadcast of the military parade on Oct. 10.

Kang Gon Military Officer’s Training School trains junior infantry officers and is comparable to the Korea Military Academy in South Korea. 

students parade
Students seen practicing for a mass parade in Hyesan earlier this month. / Image: Daily NK

Students from not only military universities but also ordinary universities reportedly took part in this year’s Party Foundation Day, but Rodong Sinmun made no mention of these other universities. The newspaper may have omitted this information as part of efforts to emphasize the military nature of the parade. 

In September, Daily NK reported that students from Kim Il Sung University and the Kim Chaek University of Technology had been mobilized for parades and mass games at Kim Il Sung Square.

Moreover, apart from major universities in Pyongyang, students from regional universities were mobilized in large numbers for parades and celebratory events that simultaneously took place in major cities across the country, including the seats of governments in North Korea’s 13 provinces and special cities. In fact, footage of students from regional universities practicing for the mass parades was made public by Daily NK earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, a May report in the Daily NK that Kim Il Sung Square and its special podium for the country’s leadership were being remodeled for the military parade was also confirmed through state coverage of the event. 

In footage released of the parade, the leadership podium in Kim Il Sung Square was spruced up, while portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were seen moved from the bottom of the structure to the top.

The podium had been rather plain and undecorated before, and it appears to have been remodeled for this parade.

Daily NK reported in May that North Korean authorities were repairing Kim Il Sung Square and the leadership podium for the military parade, following a news report from NK News about the removal of the portraits amid restoration works.  

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Mun Dong Hui is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.