Kim orders his front line troops onto a war-footing. The move comes after an emergency meeting of the powerful Central Military Commission of which Kim is the chairperson. During the meeting, Kim says:
The troops should be fully battle ready to launch surprise operations while the entire frontline should be placed in a semi-war state.
North Korea claims the submarine-based test fire of a new design missile is successful. This continues the countries display of rapidly advancing military capabilities. Official:
[North Korea] now possesses a world-level strategic weapon capable of striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces infringing upon [North Korea’s] sovereignty and dignity.
Kim claims to have climbed North Korea’s Mt. Paektu in time to watch the sunrise with a group of fighter pilots accompanying him. Mt. Paektu is the country’s highest peak at 9,022 feet.
When one climbs snow stormy Mt. Paektu and undergoes the blizzards over it, one can experiences its real spirit and harden the resolution to accomplish the Korean revolution.
Kim Jong Un is the supreme leader of North Korea, officially heading the political, economic, and military branches of North Korea’s government and all other institutions in the country. He is the grandson of Kim Il Sung, who was the founder of Juche communism as the state’s ideology, and is the third, youngest son of his predecessor as leader, Kim Jong Il. He was declared supreme leader on Dec. 28, 2011, and was the world’s youngest head of state at the time.
Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister who is believed to be 26 years old, is listed by the KCNA state-run news agency as a vice department director in the Workers’ Party central committee. Following her brother’s period of ill health, she has begun accompanying Kim Jong Un on his field guidance trips and to political events, and is reported to be capable of carrying on the ruling family’s hold on power as a successor in the event of Kim Jong Un’s death by natural causes or assassination. Kim Jong Il is also reported to have relied on his own sister during his rule of North Korea. Analysts say she may be in the powerful Workers’ Party organizational department handling personnel changes, or in a propaganda unit.
Kang Myung-do, a defector who was son-in-law to former North Korean Prime Minister Kang Sun San, says Kim Jong Un’s aunt Kim Kyung Hee died of a stroke while she was on the phone with him arguing about the execution of her husband. Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle by marriage, was executed in December as a ‘factionalist’ during a ‘seething period’ during which Kim Jong Un sought to establish a a ‘thriving country’. He was thought to be the second-in-command behind Kim Jong Un and had been instrumental in his rise to the position of supreme leader ahead of his older brothers. Kim Kyung Hee, who was Kim Jong Il’s sister, is said to have died of her third stroke. Her death hadn’t been announced, as the Workers’ Party didn’t want it linked to the execution of her husband. North Korean media have reported that she committed suicide.
Kim Jong Un visits an airstrip where he meets and congratulates North Korea’s first two female fighter pilots and takes pictures with them. According to the state news agency KCNA:
I am very satisfied and pleased to see the emergence of excellent female pilots and their brave flight in a matter of just a few months after I gave orders to train them
The North Korean air force inducted the first unit for women in 1993 but this is the first time any women have been qualified as pilots. The jets they are apparently equipped with appear to be Soviet-era MIG-15’s with flight gear from the 1960s or ’70s, and would be unlikely to pose a threat to the USAF F-22 Raptor multi-role stealth jets that were deployed to South Korea a week earlier as a deterrent. They also likely wouldn’t be able to match earlier generation U.S. aircraft. The field that is pictured may be the Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang.
The 81-hour course about the supreme leader’s history is apparently intended to develop his cult of personality. It is shorter than the course that school curriculum contains about the Great Leader, his grandfather Kim Il Sung, which takes 160 hours, and Dear Leader, his father Kim Jong Il, which takes 148 hours. South Korea’s KBS World Radio cites a copy of the North Korean Education Committee’s compulsory education outline, which details the history of Kim Jong Un as an official school subject; it is:
taught based on materials distributed by the Workers’ Party of Korea and focuses on Kim’s birth and early life
There are apparently no textbooks but the course is said to be:
teaching Kim’s quotes, theses and orders he gave to the ruling party and military.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service tells lawmakers that Kim underwent the surgery to remove a cyst, and says this is why he was missing from public view for six weeks. It says he has tarsal tunnel syndrome, an often painful condition caused by compression of a nerve. Surgery is generally a last resort for the condition. No weight should be put on the foot for 10 days after an operation, and an improvement in symptoms may take two to three months. Kim’s cyst may recur due to his obesity, smoking, and public schedule.
Kim Jong Un is suffering from “discomfort,” state media has said in the first official acknowledgement of ill health after a prolonged period out of the public eye. Kim has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside his wife on Sept. 3, fuelling speculation he is suffering from bad health. An expert on the North Korean leadership says:
Based on his gait, it appears he has gout – something (due to) diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other members of the Kim family.
Kim Jong Un condemns Rogen and Franco for making the movie, Interview, in which they attempt to assassinate the Dear Leader. A North Korean spokesperson says:
[this] shows the desperation of the US government and American society. A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy – Americans.
Defector Jang Jin-Sung, who was previously a poet and propagandist for the Kim family’s Juche government, tells Christine Amanpour on CNN that Kim Jong Un doesn’t control North Korea:
When Kim Jong Il died and Kim Jong Un succeeded him, people saw the transfer of power from father to son. What they did not see also was what happened to the apparatus of the totalitarian system that supported the rule of Kim Jong Il.
He says the Organization and Guidance Department, or OGD, is an ‘old-boy’s network’ populated by Kim Jong Il’s university friends and made into a massive surveillance organization, and effectively runs the country:
Kim Jong Il had the OGD as his old boys’ network. Kim Jong-un may have friends in his Swiss school, but he has no one inside North Korea.