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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.

The Flying Greek

Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid