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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid