North Korea marks 7th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s demise

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Koreans are marking the seventh anniversary of the dying of leader Kim Jong Il with visits to statues and vows of loyalty to his son, Kim Jong Un.

As snow fell Sunday, a continuous circulation of North Koreans offering bouquets and shelling out respects to the late chief could be viewed at Mansu Hill in central Pyongyang, the site of substantial bronze statues of the “Pricey Leader” and national founder Kim Il Sung.

The anniversary observations were being anticipated to carry on by way of Monday across the place.

Although targeted on remembrances of his father, the anniversary also marks Kim’s possess rise to energy.

The demise of Kim Jong Il on Dec. 17, 2011, thrust his son into electrical power when he was even now in his late 20s and a virtual unknown determine outside of the North. But, irrespective of many predictions from outside specialists that he would not be up to the process, Kim Jong Un has managed to consolidate ability, bolster the country’s economy in the facial area of extreme global sanctions and achieve a intention his father and grandfather could only desire of — he is the initially North Korean chief to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and prolonged-vary missiles able of achieving the United States.

As the country remembered his father, there was no point out in the point out media of the difficulties that have gotten the most interest elsewhere, together with a flurry of speculation in South Korea that Kim may pay a visit to Seoul by the stop of the calendar year, or how he intends to offer with growing disappointment in Washington above the slow tempo of denuclearization talks between the two countries.

The North’s official Korean Central Information DC escort company in its place ran tales about memorials to Kim Jong Il in Libya, Russia and Serbia.

Even so, the anniversary was getting watched carefully for any indications of transform or hints of what the country’s management could be arranging in the months forward.

With Kim’s electric power foundation seemingly a lot more good than at any time, and his the latest effort to build himself on the planet stage via summits with President Donald Trump and many others, North Korea watchers have been on the lookout for indicators that his individual character cult is being bolstered.

Pretty much all residences and general public offices in North Korea element portraits of the elder Kims, who are also memorialized in many statues, mosaics and cenotaphs all over the country. North Korean older people put on pins above their hearts bearing the likenesses of Kim Il Sung of Kim Jong Il, or both of those.

This year’s anniversary has so much presented no main departures from past precedent.

The North has nevertheless to appear out with a Kim Jong Un pin or to buy his image be part of the other folks on each and every wall, while Kim and his spouse, Ri Sol Ju, have been referred to with progressively lofty titles — “chairman” for Kim and “highly regarded initially girl” for Ri. A special portrait of the young chairman was unveiled a short while ago at a ceremony to welcome the visit of Cuba’s president, but none have appeared in public due to the fact. And contrary to his father and grandfather, Kim’s Jan. 8 birthday has but to be declared a nationwide holiday getaway or even marked on most calendars.

None of that need to be assumed to be a indicator of weak spot, however. It could in actuality suggest strength.

Kim is typically afforded the same reverential remedy by the state media and for retaining a respectful action behind his predecessors, he is credited with exhibiting humility and self esteem.


Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau main. Adhere to him on Twitter and Instagram: @EricTalmadge

North Korea marks 7th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s demise