Korean Central Television (KCTV) at 2000 Pyongyang time on April 28 aired an approximately 50-minute documentary entitled, “Comrade Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of Our Party, State, and Army, Visits the Russian Federation; April 24-27, Juche 108 (2019).”

The documentary portrayed Kim’s visit to Vladivostok and his meetings with the Russian leader positively, which was consistent with preceding state media coverage of the visit.

The two overriding themes of the documentary were the significance of Kim’s visit to Russia in demonstrating “DPRK-Russia friendship” and in strengthening bilateral relations, and Russians’ welcome for Kim.

The announcer-read narration over the video was substantially identical to party daily reports from April 24 to 27 on Kim Jong Un’s departure for, sojourn in, and arrival from Vladivostok. Announcer-read narrations in North Korean TV documentaries on Kim’s activities are generally based on previous party daily reports on the same events.

Note on personnel

North Korean state media’s readout of the leader’s departure for Russia on April 24 listed the following officials as accompanying Kim Jong Un:

“Comrade Kim Phyong Hae and Comrade O Su Yong, members of the Workers Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee [CC] Political Bureau [PB] and vice chairmen of the party CC; Comrade Ri Yong Ho, member of the WPK CC PB and foreign minister; Army General Comrade Ri Yong Gil, alternate member of the WPK CC PB and chief of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff; Comrade Choe Son Hui, member of the DPRK State Affairs Commission [SAC] and first vice foreign minister; and members of the party CC and SAC.”

In addition to these listed personnel, the documentary showed Jo Yong Won, first vice director of the WPK CC Organization and Guidance Department (OGD); Kim Chang Son, department director of the SAC; Kim Song Nam, first vice director of the WPK CC International Department; Kim Yong Su, first vice director of the WPK CC Financial Accounting Department; and Pak Jong Nam, chairman of the Kangwon Provincial Party Committee.

KCTV shows a scene from a luncheon for Kim Jong Un just before his departure from Vladivostok. On the left side of the table are, from left to right, Kim Yong Su, Kim Song Nam, Kim Chang Son, Jo Yong Won, and Kim Phyong Hae.

The man in the front, wearing glasses, is Pak Jong Nam. This scene is also from the luncheon on Kim Jong Un’s last day in Vladivostok.

Notably, Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who appeared to serve as a personal secretary to Kim from the closest quarters during his foreign visits, was not mentioned or seen during this visit in any DPRK state media outlet, including this KCTV documentary. Previously, Kim Yo Jong accompanied her brother on almost all foreign visits.

She has not been mentioned or seen in state media since April 13, when she was seen second from the far left on the second row while posing for a photo with Kim Jong Un and other newly elected party and state leaders.

Her position in the photo, and her absence from a string of major national events in April, appeared to suggest that she has a party position but likely has lost her title as alternate member of the party Political Bureau.     

New in Documentary

The documentary carried two-minute footage disclosing new information previously not covered by state media: Kim and Putin exchanging gifts after their meetings on April 25. North Korean TV documentaries occasionally convey new information previously unrevealed by state media.

For example, a Pyongyang TV documentary on Kim’s visit to Hanoi for summit talks with the US and Vietnamese leaders carried a short clip showing North Korean officials’ visits to Vietnam’s tourist and economic sites not disclosed by previous state media reports.

KCTV shows Putin showing and explaining his gifts to Kim Jong Un.

KCTV shows Kim giving a sword to Putin as a gift.

Summary

The documentary recapitulated Kim Jong Un’s departure from an unidentified train station in North Korea “at dawn on April 24”; Kim’s stopover in the border city of Khasan on the morning of April 24; Kim’s arrival in Vladivostok “at 1800 local time” on April 24 and Kim viewing a welcoming ceremony; and Kim’s arrival at his accommodation on the same day.  

Kim Jong Un steps out of his train in Khasan. Following Kim are Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho; Ri Yong Gil, chief of the KPA General Staff; First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui; and party department directors Kim Phyong Hae and O Su Yong, in that order.

The framed photo on the table next to Kim during his talks with Russian officials in Khasan shows Kim Jong Il, presumably during his visit to Khasan.

KCTV shows residents of Vladivostok lining the streets to welcome Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un talking to O Su Yong, director of the party’s Economic Department, as he overlooks the city of Vladivostok from his hotel.

The documentary then showed Kim’s one-on-one meeting, talks, reception, and farewell with Putin on April 25.

KCTV says “countless domestic and foreign reporters and masses” came to see Kim and Putin meeting.

According to KCTV, Putin “warmly welcomed” Kim, and that Kim “had his deeply moving first meeting” with Putin.

Kim and Putin shaking hands before the DPRK and Russian flags.

Kim Jong Un and Putin having a one-on-one meeting.

Kim and Putin holding a summit.

From left to right, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Kim Jong Un, interpreter, and First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

Kim Jong Un speaks during the summit with Putin.

Putin delivers a speech at the banquet.

Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Putin and bids farewell after the reception.

The documentary continued by showing the events of Kim’s last day in Vladivostok on April 26: laying a wreath before the Monument to Military Glory of the Pacific Sea Fleet; having a luncheon at a restaurant where Kim Jong Il had also visited in August 2002; a farewell ceremony for Kim in Vladivostok; and Kim’s stopover at the DPRK-Russia Friendship Pavillion in Khasan, which Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il also visited.

A wreath bearing the title and name of Kim Jong Un in front of the monument to fallen soldiers.

Kim Jong Un paying a tribute before the monument.

A commemorative plaque at the entrance of the restaurant that Kim Jong Il visited on August 24, 2002.

Kim Jong Un looks at the plaque.

Kim Jong Un receives a gift from a Russian official during the luncheon.

Kim Jong Un signs a book at the request of a Russian official.

Kim Jong Un’s signature, which reads, “I hope this moment becomes an excellent memory. Kim Jong Un. April 26, 2019.”

Kim Jong Un leaves Vladivostok.

Kim Jong Un looks at photos of Kim Jong Il on the wall of the DPRK-Russia Friendship Pavillion in Khasan on his way home.

The documentary closes off with scenes from an unnamed railway station in North Hamgyong Province “at dawn on April 27,” where North Korean officials and people were gathered to welcome Kim Jong Un.  

Kim Jong Un receives children’s welcome and hugs them.

Edited by Oliver Hotham

Featured image: KCTV