News / Asia

    North Korean Leader, Heir Apparent Appear at Military Parade

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (3rd R) and his son Kim Jong-un (L) watch a military parade in Pyongyang's central square, September 9, 2011.
    North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (3rd R) and his son Kim Jong-un (L) watch a military parade in Pyongyang's central square, September 9, 2011.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Il appeared to be in relatively good health as he looked down on a massive military parade Friday in central Pyongyang. His son and heir apparent was also on the reviewing stand as the reclusive state celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its founding.

    Thousands of members of North Korea’s second-tier reserve force, the Worker-Peasant Red Guards, marched in goose-step as they carried rifles and rocket launchers while military trucks loaded with missiles paraded through Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang.

    North Korean television broadcast the scene live as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrated the 63rd anniversary of its inception.

    The state TV announcer says the square “is filled with endless joy and everyone is immensely excited during this successful military parade honoring General Secretary of the Korea Worker’s Party and Supreme Commander of the Revolutionary Force, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.”

    Observers say a parade for this anniversary comes as a surprise because normally such reviews are held every fifth anniversary of an important date.

    Gazing down on it all were the son and grandson of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung. It was the first such father-and-son appearance since a similar parade last year on the anniversary of the founding of the country’s only political party.

    Near the end of the parade, the crowd, carrying pink artificial flowers, began chanting the name of Kim Jong Il, the founder’s son and current leader.

    Thousands shout praise towards Kim and chant “mansei” the traditional cheer for long life.

    Kim, wearing his usual khaki Mao suit and sunglasses, slowly moved across the reviewing stand, pausing several times to return the applause and wave to the soldiers and civilians below.

    For North Korea watchers, it was a rare opportunity for an extended real-time look at the 69-year-old leader.

    When he entered the reviewing stand, Kim walked with a slight limp, apparently the result of the reported stroke three years ago that affected the left side of his body.

    He was accompanied by his third son and presumed successor, Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20’s and spent some of his school years in Switzerland. He stood stiffly in a dark Mao suit except when applauding the troops or listening to something his father was telling him.  

    The younger Kim was named a top party leader and four-star general last year, despite no known previous military service. Official news dispatches Friday from Pyongyang listed his name above all others who accompanied the country’s leader at the event.

    That is seen as an even more solid indication of his position as the eventual successor to his father.

    Neither of the Kims spoke at the ceremony. That was left to the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Yong Chun.

    In a reference to the United States and South Korea, Kim, who is also the army chief of general staff, accused the enemy of conducting “reckless new war provocation maneuvers in a highly agitated state.” Any attempt to harm North Korea’s dignity or sovereignty, even a bit, he warned, would be answered with a merciless crushing and achieve “without fail” the reunification of the Korean peninsula.

    In South Korea, dozens of refugees who escaped from the North, marked the day by helping to launch gas-filled balloons near the heavily fortified border to float several hundred thousand leaflets towards their native country. The leaflets call on the people of North Korea to rise against their leaders, citing what has occurred recently in Libya.

    Most analysts hold few expectations of the likelihood of such an uprising. They cite the highly repressive nature of the state where, since North Korea’s inception, even the slightest suspicion of disloyalty can mean being sent for years or decades to labor camps or execution.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora