News / Asia

    North Korea Marks 2nd Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's Death

    orth Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends an event to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
    orth Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends an event to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
    VOA News
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un led events commemorating the second anniversary of his father's death, just days after the execution of the uncle who was thought to be his mentor and second in command.

    Kim joined other top military and political leaders Tuesday at a somber memorial service at a Pyongyang auditorium where an image of his father, ex-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, was hanging on stage.

    One of the speakers was Choe Ryong Hae, the director of the powerful Army General Political Department.

    "As we recall the revolutionary life and indelible achievements of our Generalissimo Kim Jong Il, we are strengthening our will and belief to honor the Great General Kim Jong Un's ideas and military power by obeying his 'military-first' revolutionary policy," said Choe.

    Others also pledged unwavering loyalty to the Kim dynasty, promising to protect the country with their lives and saying that the country has made progress since the younger Kim took over.

    The elder Kim died unexpectedly in December 2011, leaving power to his young and inexperienced son, who has been replacing some of the country's top leaders in an effort to consolidate power.

    • North Korean soldiers march on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang as others pay their respects beneath portraits of the late leaders Kim Jong Il, right, and Kim Il Sung, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • North Koreans lay flowers beneath portraits of the late leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an event to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • North Koreans offer flowers in front of statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Mansudae hill in Pyongyang, on the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, Dec. 17, 2013. (KCNA)
    • North Koreans present wreaths and bow in front of portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as they mourn the second death anniversary of Kim Jong Il at the North Korean embassy in the Chinese border city of Dandong, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • North Korean defectors tear a caricature of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korea rally marking the second anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death, Seoul, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • A portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is burned by protesters during an anti-North Korea rally marking the second anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death, Seoul, Dec. 17, 2013.


    Last week, Pyongyang announced the execution of Jang Song Thaek, a powerful figure who had been viewed as a mentor to the younger Kim following his father's death.

    Jang, who was married to Kim Jong Il's sister Kim Kyong Hui, was accused of trying to overthrow the state, along with a series of other abuses, such as corruption, womanizing and drug use.

    Kim Kyong Hui, herself a powerful figure, did not appear on stage in videos of the ceremony that appeared on state media. There has been speculation about whether she survived the purge of Jang's associates, some of whom were also executed.

    Many disagree about what the development means for the notoriously secretive North Korean leadership, but most Korea watchers were surprised at Pyongyang's acknowledgement of dissension within its ranks.

    North Korea's neighbors, meanwhile, are watching closely for possible military provocations from the North. South Korean defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Tuesday said it is "highly likely" that Pyongyang will do this between late January and early March.

    "They may try to partially strengthen the sole leadership with the reign of terror, but anxiety of North Korean people and other power groups will grow. Making a military provocation is a conventional way to relive the anxiety," said Kim.

    North Korea has already conducted three nuclear weapons tests in recent years, and held several long-range missile launches, both of which are banned by United Nations sanctions.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.