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North Korean Heir Attends Massive Military Parade

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, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, in Pyongyang.

The son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the anointed successor to lead the country, has made a high profile public debut in the state's largest military parade in years.

Twenty-seven year-old Kim Jong Un appeared with his father Kim Jong Il Sunday presiding over the parade to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the country's ruling communist party.

Thousands of troops marched through the streets of Pyongyang drawing cheers from spectators.

The parade is being aired live on state television, an unusual departure in North Korea, where broadcasts are heavily censored.

The parade includes thousands of and a display of North Korea's tanks, missiles and other weaponry.

Kim Jong Un was confirmed as the designated successor this past week.

Late last month, the younger Kim was named to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party at the party conference, and appointed vice chairman of the party's powerful central military commission. He also received a commission as a four-star general.

Despite being a general, the younger Kim appeared Sunday in civilian clothes. Many analysts had predicted he would be wearing a military uniform.

The weekend festivities started Friday night with a fireworks display that lit up the sky over Pyongyang. The younger Kim was also present when his father made a rare public appearance Saturday at a music and dance pageant in Pyongyang's May Day stadium.

The 68-year-old Kim Jong Il is ailing after reportedly suffering a stroke in 2008.