North Korea calls for unity on anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – North Korea on Friday commemorated the 10th anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il with a call for more public loyalty to his son and current leader Kim Jong Un, who is struggling to navigate the country out of a pandemic involving arduous.

In the 10 years of ruling North Korea since his father’s death, Kim Jong Un, 37, has secured absolute power as Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the leader’s grandfather and founder of the Korean dynasty. water today. Despite major economic shocks caused by draconian anti-virus measures and longstanding diplomacy with the United States, North Korea shows no signs of political instability and few outside experts question it. about Kim’s ability to take power.

But the long-term stability of Kim Jong Un’s rule could still be questioned if he does not take steps to address the ongoing difficulties and improve the livelihoods of the community, some observers say. identify.

On each previous anniversary of his death, Kim Jong Un paid his respects at a mausoleum, where Kim Jong Il’s embalmed body was found along with Kim Il Sung’s body. Kim Jong Un has also convened national meetings to honor his father in a number of previous important anniversaries such as the first and the fifth.

He is expected to do the same this year but North Korea’s state media did not immediately report any public activity by Kim Jong Un on Friday morning. State-run newspapers ran articles honoring Kim Jong Il and calling for greater unity behind Kim Jong Un, while state television showed propaganda songs and documentaries about the late leader.

“The great leader and comrade Kim Jong Il is always with us … and he is the ‘suryong’ and the eternal sun ‘juche (self-reliance)’ of our party and revolution,” the newspaper said. The North’s main Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial, referring to a reverential title reserved for North Korean leaders.

Without mentioning the current difficulties, the newspaper said that “We should make every effort to strengthen our unanimous solidarity … by standing united behind our respected comrade Kim Jong Un. .”

On Thursday, ordinary people offered flowers and paid their respects in front of giant bronze statues of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung at Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill.

This year’s anniversary comes as Kim Jong Un is grappling with the most difficult moment of his rule because of the coronavirus pandemic, persistent UN sanctions and mismanagement.

North Korea’s trade with China, its largest trading partner and economic pipeline, fell about 80 percent last year before shrank by two-thirds again in the first nine months of this year. Last year, North Korea’s economy shrank by the most since 1997 while the country’s grain output also fell to its lowest level since Kim took office, according to South Korean government estimates.

Kim refused to return to talks with Washington and Seoul as he called for building a stronger, more self-reliant economy and maintaining strict virus restrictions including two years of border closures. Analysts say Kim is concerned that the country’s broken public health care infrastructure cannot afford a major virus outbreak though he maintains a dubious claim that North Korea no corona virus.

“Unless North Korea accepts the offer of denuclearization talks with the US, North Korea cannot stay away from strong international sanctions. Without international cooperation, North Korea must continue to style border restrictions due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. And this is a North Korean dilemma,” said analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea in an analysis. recent record.

North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal is at the core of Kim’s rule, and he calls it a “strong treasured sword” that ensures peace in the face of military threats from North Korea. America.

During its 10 years in power, North Korea has carried out 62 ballistic missile tests, which are banned under various UN Security Council resolutions, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. This number is compared with an estimated nine rounds of tests during Kim Il Sung’s 46 years in power and 22 rounds in Kim Jong Il’s 17 years in power. Four of North Korea’s six nuclear tests and three intercontinental ballistic missile launches have taken place under Kim Jong Un’s rule.

Kim’s fierce weapons testing in 2016-17 called for tougher UN sanctions and led him to exchange threats of destruction and crude insults with the then-President. is Donald Trump. The two sat down for three rounds of landmark summit talks over Mr Kim’s nuclear weapons between 2018-19, but their diplomatic relations eventually fell apart due to a dispute over sanctions. punish. Kim has since threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal and build more sophisticated weapons systems.

“North Korea marks the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong Il with public ceremonies and state propaganda. More meaningful will be Kim Jong Un’s attempt, after a decade in power, to map out a son. reliable path for post-pandemic diplomacy and economic recovery,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.


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