News / Asia

North Korea Marks Late Leader's Birth Anniversary

North Koreans offer flowers to mark the birth anniversary of the North's late leader Kim Jong-Il at Kim Il-sung square in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo, February 16, 2012.
North Koreans offer flowers to mark the birth anniversary of the North's late leader Kim Jong-Il at Kim Il-sung square in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo, February 16, 2012.

North Korea is marking what would have been the 70th birthday of Kim Jong Il, who died in December. Amid muted celebrations, there is also praise for the late leader's son, Kim Jong Un, anointed as his father's successor.

Celebrating Kim Jong ll

The reclusive and impoverished country is using the occasion, officially renamed the "Day of the Shining Star," to stress the continuity of Kim family leadership and "turn sorrow into power and courage".

In an afternoon ceremony inside the just renamed Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, the new leader, Kim Jong Un, led those paying respects to his father, bowing before a large photograph of Kim Jong Il.

Moments later, in front of the mausoleum, on a cold and windy day, he stood in a navy blue coat as troops on display shouted their loyalty to him.

Vice marshal Ri Yong Ho, addressed the military units on the occasion of what would have been Kim Jong Il's 70th birthday.

The chief of the army's general staff reminded the forces war could break out without warning and they must be ready to wipe out "U.S. imperialists and South Korean puppet traitors" to reunify the Korean peninsula.

The vice marshal also says that Kim Jong Il, before his death, solved perfectly the succession issue.

Praises offered to the new leader

During a military parade, goose-stepping troops, including women, saluted as they marched in front of a smiling Kim Jong Un. North Korea, meanwhile, has begun broadcasting a new song praising its new leader.

The lyrics proclaim that the people will defend with their lives their "supreme commander," General Kim Jong Un.

Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul says this is all meant to elevate Kim Jong Un to the same level as his late father.

The professor says the strategic significance is clearly that North Korea will continue to emphasize military-first politics under the third generation of the Kim family.

Rank elevation, generalissimo

North Korea announced this week that Kim Jong Il had been posthumously elevated to the rank of generalissimo. Until now, Kim Il Sung was the only one holding that title, bestowed on him just before his 80th birthday in 1992.

Some analysts predict the move to elevate Kim Jong Il's rank after his death will clear the way for Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be in his late 20s, to be promoted to marshal, further consolidating his authority over all of North Korea's military forces.

Kim Jong Un is already a four-star general, despite having no previous military experience.

In South Korea, a group of defectors marked the day by launching, across the border, balloons carrying 140,000 leaflets. The pamphlets sent airborne by the defectors call for their former compatriots to fight against a third-generation "transfer of dictatorship" in North Korea.

The North considers the balloons a provocative act and has repeatedly vowed to retaliate against such launches.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid