The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un made a speech before the medics of the Korean People's Army (KPA) "I Congratulate the Combatants in the Medical Sector of the Korean People's Army for Having Quelled the Epidemic Crisis in the Capital City" on August 18, Juche 111 (2022).
The following is the full text of his speech:
Courageous combatants in the army medical sector who fought bravely in the theatre of the anti-epidemic war in the capital city,
We have gathered here today not to review any work or put forward any special task.
I have just wanted to see you in person, who took trouble, more than anybody else, commend you highly and pose for a souvenir photograph with you.
After I received the report that you left the streets of the capital city with the epidemic crisis over, I don't know why but for several days I felt something missing and was reminded of you continuously; I could not but feel that I failed to do something for you.
Moreover, as I heard that thousands of you left silently in the dead of night and at dawn without any formal farewell ceremony so as not to lay burden on the citizens, I was more reminded of you for trying to be loyal to the duty of the army of the Party and the people, and I felt more desirous of doing something for you.
The genuine appraisal of for whom and how you fought was fully expressed in the hot tears that were glistening in the eyes of the people as they sent you off when you were leaving unnoticed after accomplishing your combat mission.
This appraisal the people made with sincere heart is the most valuable appraisal that cannot be earned even with a huge sum of money and the highest commendation for the soldiers of the revolutionary army.
I ordered you to gather today to see you and inspire you along with the hearts of the capital city citizens, who are said to have failed to suppress the feeling of regret on hearing the news of your departure belatedly, and to highly commend you once again so that the efforts and feats you made are known across the country.
Combatants in the army medical sector,
I ought to have already arranged such a gathering as this one, and I am very sorry for failing to do so.
Defending the people at the risk of your lives is your natural duty, but, for me, your health and safety is part of my flesh and blood which I must not lose, so I felt anxious about you in your direct encounter with the malignant virus during the whole period of the anti-epidemic war.
But my pleasure is beyond description as I see you all, who were defending the anti-epidemic front in the capital city, healthy and vigorous.
So before extending congratulatory greetings to you for victory in the anti-epidemic war, I would like to say thanks and thanks to you for quelling the crisis and being healthy like this.
This time you fought well, indeed.
On behalf of the Party, country and people, I extend warm thanks to you.
As the recent National Meeting of Reviewing the Emergency Anti-epidemic Work appreciated your achievements, you did a great deal of work in the 91-day campaign to defend the capital city and the people with devoted efforts and dauntless conviction and courage.
The area of the capital city where you fought was the crucial and central combat area decisive of the success or failure in the national anti-epidemic struggle.
I still remember the moment, when I signed the order to deploy you in the capital city's anti-epidemic front in those days of emergency.
As I stand here face to face with you today, I vividly remember the feelings I had in those days: the nights of May 14 and 15 last when I repressed my painful emotion with so much difficulty seeing the quiet, empty streets as if the whole country as well as the capital city had been evacuated after the declaration of the top-level national epidemic crisis in the wake of the unexpected spread of the epidemic disease in the country; the heart-breaking moments when I had nothing to do but simply see the people standing in a busy queue in front of pharmacies as medicines were not supplied according to demand following the first-ever public health crisis; the moments when I received the daily situation report on the exponential spread of the disease; and the days when I hoped to give the whole of my mind and trust as well as my destiny to our army at the most trying moment.
On May 15, the fourth day after the state epidemic prevention system was switched into the top-level crisis responding system to cope with the crisis facing the country, the Political Bureau of our Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Party analyzed the public health situation of the country and adopted comprehensive and important decisions to resolutely combat the spread of the malignant disease. As part of these crucial measures, they called you, combatants in the army medical sector, to the fight to defend the capital city.
Throughout the whole course of the combat to defuse the recent public health crisis, you, through your painstaking efforts, demonstrated the unyielding spirit, invincible fighting efficiency of our army and the ennobling traits and admirable honour of the army of the Party to a greater extent than the Party expected from you.
Looking back, the recent campaign the People's Army conducted to defend the capital city was truly a ten-out-of-ten operation from beginning to end, which left nothing to be desired.
When the country faced the critical situation, the army medical sector built up for war was deployed on the first line; this fact alone was greatly significant both in infusing confidence into the emergency anti-epidemic atmosphere across the country and encouraging the people who were concerned about the spread of the fever and in turning the tide of the anti-epidemic campaign situation.
As a matter of fact, but for you, the recent top-level emergency anti-epidemic campaign might have been more arduous and challenging.
The capital city should have been the centre and last stronghold of the national crisis management, but rather its anti-epidemic situation was most serious; at the time, the state organs, to say nothing of the capital city Party organization, failed to be responsive and, given the situation, our Party Central Committee could not but turn to the army medical sector.
You clearly proved by your self-sacrificing efforts and struggle that the Party Central Committee was right in its decision to quickly deploy the elite force of the army medical sector for medicine supply in the capital city, the pivotal factor in the emergency anti-epidemic war, and that its trust and expectation were not in vain.
As the crisis was the first of its kind, everybody was deeply worried; at this moment, your bravery and self-sacrifice were spiritual characteristics based on exceptional loyalty of our service personnel who know best the true heart of their Supreme Commander and never hesitate in following his intentions.
Although it was unfamiliar to them all to supply medicines promptly to those from all sections of society, men and women, young and old, and to pay attention even to their treatment, all the combatants performed laudable feats with attention to detail, prudence and sincerity which were unthinkable even to the professional medical workers in pharmacies, by displaying absolute loyalty to the order of the Party Central Committee and the spirit of unconditional love for and devotion to the people.
You were never mere medical workers in military uniform.
Revolutionary fighters boundlessly faithful to our Party and the people's sons and brothers–this was your true image deeply ingrained in the minds of the Pyongyang citizens in the sacred course of the 91-day campaign.
You were dispatched to the pharmacies in the capital city on a mission to stabilize the transport and supply of medicines, but all of you did your best to safeguard the people's lives and protect their health.
Each of you suffered unimaginable physical and mental fatigue while performing your duties 24-7, but you regarded it as your obligation to offer sincere and devoted service, running even in the fierce heat to look for those families in need of medicines and make calls on the fever cases on their list time and again until they recovered completely.
Some visited the houses of war veterans, honoured disabled ex-soldiers and merited people bringing with them tonics they had obtained for their recovery, together with the anti-epidemic medicines; some others transfused their own blood into patients in critical conditions and reopened their airway with their own mouths; still others did not hesitate to distribute staple and subsidiary foods to the families in need of help by cutting their own field rations or donating the money their parents had sent them. All your deeds moved the hearts of the people.
Yet, there is something I think more laudable than these: It is just the overflowing sincerity our army always showed in approaching and treating the people.
It is not simply because our people got medicines or foods from the People's Army when they were sick that they regarded the soldiers as their sons and brothers.
As they keenly felt that the soldiers were more solicitous, sincere and selfless than their own family members in looking after them, they called them "our soldiers," "our sons" and "our grandsons" unreservedly out of their feelings of gratitude.
Among the medics are those who gave all their heart to the capital city citizens while enduring their own sorrow and anxiety by dint of their lofty sense of duty even when they learned their families had experienced a misfortune and that their parents, wives or children were in critical conditions. Also among them are officers and men who died while following the road of uninterrupted devotion although they were suffering from illnesses.
These laudable deeds, something that would have been utterly impossible to be done or desired by simply giving orders, can be achieved and explained only on the basis of the ennobling spiritual and moral traits of our army.
I am going to recount some more facts related with the laudable deeds by our medics.
Complaints, which were not complaints true to the sense of the word, that the soldiers were too unfair continued to be reported through the Party organizations in the capital city.
The citizens said that they warmly appreciated the other deeds of the medics, but they were very regretful for and disappointed at their stand and attitude that they would not accept their own modest sincerity saying that all they needed was water and air.
But I think it is quite natural that you maintained in the emergency anti-epidemic campaign in the capital city, too, the spiritual and moral discipline unique to our army that its soldiers must not lay any burden on the people under any circumstances. I highly appreciate it.
And some of you conveyed medicines even to the families that hesitated to come to the pharmacies as some of their members had committed crimes against the country in the past, thus ensuring that they could also enjoy the benefits of our system. You surely did a good job of it.
You were not just soldiers who carry out orders; well-versed in the intentions and policy of the Party, you thought correctly in political aspects and behaved properly. Our Party is most pleased and satisfied to have reconfirmed these excellent traits, the true image of the army that is strong politically and ideologically.
The combatants who were responsible for the transport of medicines to their supply units also did many good things for the people while transporting essential medicines in a mobile way through the streets and villages of the capital city day and night.
These ennobling and devoted spiritual traits of our army can be said to have served as a death-defying motive for encouraging the capital city citizens to recover from the fear of the epidemic disease crisis and as a detonator which further encouraged and brought forth the communist virtue and traits throughout society.
Every time I received a report on the laudable deeds the medics performed of their own accord and their achievements in the recent emergency anti-epidemic campaign, I thought how satisfied their parents and siblings would be and how proud their wives and children would be for having such wonderful men as soldiers. So I wished to praise and appreciate them more highly.
Though there was not a hail of bullets targeting at you in the recent fight, the virus was threatening your lives; but you unhesitatingly turned out in the fight to exterminate the virus and defended the people. All of you are today's frontline medics and combat heroes.
Thanks to your death-defying efforts, not only the militant features of our army that implements the Party's order come hell or high water was demonstrated to the full but also the precious revolutionary asset of the great army-people unity, the foundation of our society, was firmly defended.
Also fully demonstrated was the perfect capability of our army to deal squarely with and win victory in coping with non-military challenges that threaten the security of the state and the lives and property of the people every now and then, to say nothing of military conflicts with the enemy.
All the combatants, ranging from generals to officers and men, courageously fought by displaying to the maximum their loyalty to the Party and revolution and devotion for the people and patriotism after receiving the special order of the Central Military Commission of the Party, and thus made a great contribution to hastening the great victory in the anti-epidemic war. As General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic, I feel very proud of it and highly appreciate it.
Combatants in the army medical sector,
As you must have felt deeply this time, our Party and people expect a great deal from the People's Army, and it is essential to improve the fighting capability of the army medical sector not only in wartime but also in peacetime.
In particular, the significance of the modern development and perfection of combat preparedness of the army medical sector is further highlighted in fighting a war.
Our army can accomplish its planned military tasks of strategic importance only when its forces are preserved in a fierce war situation; from this point of view, the army medical sector has a very important role to play.
True to its natural mission to preserve the manpower potential in a war, the sector should thoroughly implement the Party's ideology and policy of military medical science and take the lead in consolidating the defence line of the country's public health sector.
When the high sense of loyalty, spirit of love for the people and noble human feeling, which were displayed during the recent emergency anti-epidemic war, are combined with advanced medical science and technology, any medical treatment campaign or public health crisis can be fully coped with.
Rim Chun Chu Military University of Medical Sciences, the "pedigree farm" of the medical sector of the People's Army, should play a leading and pivotal role in training the medics and developing military medicine, and hold the banner and set an example for the whole country in renovating the overall educational work.
With the main stress put on raising the medical scientific and theoretical standards and the level of clinical skills of its teaching staff and students, it should steadily renovate the content, methods and means of education in conformity to the principle of modern pedagogy and thus train all its students to be competent field medics, skilled field medics, who can perform their role independently and satisfactorily in wartime.
In keeping with the changing war environment and the world trend of development of military medicine, it should direct efforts to further studying and perfecting the methods of field medical treatment of our style and modernizing medical facilities and equipment, so as to actively contribute to perfecting the combat preparedness of the army medical sector.
It should not rest on its laurels with the successes in the recent top-level emergency anti-epidemic campaign, but promote and expand good experiences and eliminate or make up for the shortcomings while further strengthening its Party work and teaching administration.
The General Political Bureau and other Party organizations at all levels of the Korean People's Army should effectively conduct political work of educating the whole army in the excellent fighting spirit displayed by the medics and generalizing their examples.
Combatants in the army medical sector,
It is a source of glory and extraordinary honour for you, medics, to have participated in the top-level emergency anti-epidemic war and left remarkable imprints in the course of the devoted struggle for the people traversed by our army.
The loyalty and patriotism and the love and devotion you left on every page of the records of the 91-day combat will remain as an unforgettable experience for you, and it will unswervingly lead your life of service for the country and people for ever.
Always mindful of the trust and expectation of the Party Central Committee, you should be fully ready politically, ideologically, technically and practically by making tireless efforts so that you can continue to leave such brilliant imprints in the future, too.
Only victory and glory are always in store for the KPA, our revolutionary army faithful to the Party and devoted for the people, on the militant road it follows to be always proud before its sacred and honourable title, an army of the people.
You became honourable victors in repulsing the virulent virus and defending the anti-epidemic line of no retreat with strenuous efforts true to the crucial order of the Party to defend without any condition the security and safety of our state, system and people by fighting staunchly to the last drop of your blood. So, today I am going to pose with you for a photograph as a memento of the meaningful victory to be etched in the history of our Party and state.
It is, indeed, a source of glory and pride for me to wage the revolution with such loyal officers and men as you.