Kim Jong Un gathers military for four-day lecture, criticizes US military drills

NORTH KOREA (July 31, 2021)— North Korean leader calls out ‘fanatical practices for invasion’ ahead of tentative joint U.S.-ROK drills.

North Korean state media revealed Friday that Kim Jong Un chaired another big military event in Pyongyang earlier this week, criticizing U.S. military drills during a first-of-its-kind “workshop” for Korean People’s Army (KPA) commanders and political officers from July 24 to 27. Notably, Jong Un’s new slim new modern look is strikingly amazing.

The state media report on Kim Jong Un’s speech and other speakers during the four-day event was fairly low-key, with no mention of new weapons or nuclear-related plans like during the party congress in January.

But Kim did appear to criticize U.S.-South Korean joint military drills, ahead of their tentative start in the coming weeks.

“The hostile forces are strengthening their fanatical and persistent practices for invasion, continuing to systematically expand their ability to preemptively strike our nation and increasing their military spending,” the DPRK leader said, according to the party-run Rodong Sinmun.

“Our armed forces are made even more determined to put an end to the vicious cycle of intensifying tension at present,” he added.

Kim reportedly said in a closing speech on July 27 that the event “provided a new landmark in modernizing” the North Korean armed forces.

He also demanded that the military commanders and political officers improve their “moral traits” and “completely break with non-revolutionary and non-militant ideological viewpoint and working style.”

The DPRK leader appeared to stay away from the venue on the third day during an “intensive training course” for participants, where they were told to intensify “combat training” and “preparations for regular mobilization of personnel, weapons and combat and technical hardware.”

The state media report on the events confirmed that Pak Jong Chon retained his position as chief of the KPA General Staff after a demotion in military rank last month, and that Ri Yong Gil indeed replaced Kim Jong Gwan as minister of National Defense.

May be an image of 9 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says 'IIIIIFIEE 96050 A Kim Jong Un waves at participants of the military lecture event at group photo on July 29. To his right are Pak Jong Chon and Kwon Yong Jin. Image: Rodong Sinmun, July 30, 2021'

KPA Vice Marshal Kwon Yong Jin, who serves as director of the KPA General Political Bureau, also reportedly made a speech on the first day of the event.

Later on July 29, Kim Jong Un shook hands and took separate group photos with the KPA event participants at the party headquarters building and elderly war veterans inside the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium. Kim has recently skipped group photos — which are seen as important social currency — with other major event attendees.

Demonstrating its ability to prevent leaks to the outside world, the ruling party kept the four-day event secret for days as Kim also showed up at a war veterans conference and other events to mark the 68th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

 

Featured Photo: Image: Rodong Sinmun, July 30, 2021 | Kim Jong Un made a speech at the KPA event

Edited by Bryan Betts

Updated at 10:35 KST on July 30 with more details from the state media report. Corrected at 13:25 on July 30 to reflect that a group photo was taken inside the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on July 29, which may account for the presence of buses in its parking lot seen in satellite imagery.

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