Fifth anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death passing uneventfully in N Korea

21-Dec-2016 Intellasia | | 6:00 AM Print This Post

South Korea and US had been on alert for possibility North Korea would carry out some strategic military action

The fifth anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death passed uneventfully on December 17. The South Korean and US governments had been on the alert for signs of strategic military activities by the North for the occasion.

North Korea’s Korean Central Television (KCTV) network broadcast live footage on December 17 from a government commemorative assembly held in the plaza front of Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lie in state. The event was attended by a large crowd, including current leader Kim Jong-un and senior representatives of the Korean Workers’ Party, government, and military and members of the People’s Army.

In a commemorative address, KWP vice chair Choe Ryong-hae described Kim Jong-il as having “brought honor on the fatherland as a global military power and a legitimate nuclear state.” Choe also called on the crowd to “defend Comrade Kim Jong-un to the death.”

“Resolution speeches” were also given on behalf of the party, military, and young people by KWP Central Committee vice chairperson Kim Ki-nam, People’s Army general politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so, and Youth League Central Committee first secretary Jon Yong-nam. Kim Jong-un did not speak at the event, and no People’s Army review was held.

The first two government commemoration assemblies for Kim Jong-il were held at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, while the third took place at the plaza in front of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. No assembly was held for the fourth anniversary last year.

At noon on December 17, KCTV broadcast footage of residents all over North Korea observing a moment of silence and vehicles and ships stopping for a commemorative siren. At 9 am that day, Kim Jong-un paid respects at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun with senior officials from the party, government, and military. For a second straight year, Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju did not attend the event to pay respects.

The South Korea and US government and experts had previously stepped up their alertness posture in response to what they saw as a greater likely that North Korea would take advantage of the transition in the US government and the chaos following South Korea’s presidential impeachment to attempt some strategic military action for the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death. But the actual anniversary proceedings were focused solely on fostering a commemorative mood at home.


Category: Korea

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