News / USA

North Korea Stages Display of Military Might to Mark Key Anniversary

Heir apparent Kim Jong Un appears at event.

In this image made from KRT footage distributed by APTN, participants perform during a huge military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's Workers' Party, 10 Oct 2010, in Pyongyang
In this image made from KRT footage distributed by APTN, participants perform during a huge military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's Workers' Party, 10 Oct 2010, in Pyongyang

North Korea displayed its military might with a huge parade Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of the country's only political party.

Heir apparent Kim Jong Un appeared with his father, absolute leader Kim Jong Il. With the event aired live on national television, North Koreans received their first extended look at the young man selected to be their next leader.

A huge cheer erupted in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square when Kim Jong Il emerged to review the massive military
parade.

The rare, live broadcast showed thousands of soldiers briskly goose-stepping past the reviewing stand. They saluted Kim Jong Il, who was flanked by his youngest son and recently named 4-star general, Kim Jong Un. But the heir apparent was not in military uniform. He wore a black communist-style suit, bearing a striking resemblance to his grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

The huge display of military force demonstrated not only North Korea's defensive resolve despite its poverty. It can also be seen as clearly signaling to its citizens and the rest of the world that the elder Mr. Kim, reported to be in declining health in recent years, intends to pass rule to his youngest son, who is believed to be about 27 years of age.

The parade also featured tanks and large trucks bearing rockets and missiles rumbling through the central square.

Before the soldiers began marching, the army's chief of General Staff, Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, said if the country's sovereignty is infringed, even slightly, by what he termed "the U.S. imperialists and their followers," North Korea will strike by using all of its physical resources, including its nuclear weapons.

The event included frequent homages to Kim Jong Il. Vice Marshal Ri concluded his speech Sunday wishing Mr. Kim a long life.

No mention was made of Mr. Kim's third son and heir apparent, despite his prominent presence at the high-profile event.

At last month's Workers' Party convention, Kim Jong Un, who previously held no known positions, was named vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission and also given a top party post.

Numerous defectors from North Korea who have fled to the South say the average person in their homeland cares little about the succession because they are just focused on finding enough to eat.

The most prominent defector, Hwang Jang-yop, was found dead Sunday in his South Korean residence. Police say the 87-year-old apparently died of a heart attack.  There was no sign of a break-in at his guarded home.

The South Korean National Intelligence Service, six months ago, arrested what it described as two North Korean agents planning to assassinate Hwang. The YTN network says intelligence officials are investigating the circumstances of Hwang's death. He was the architect of Pyongyang's self-reliance ideology, Juche, and a former secretary of the Worker's Party.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs