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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs