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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 227 (Sept. 13, 2012)

North Korea Marks Founding Anniversary with Modest Celebration

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea marked its 64th founding anniversary on Sept. 9 in relatively modest manner without staging extravagant events, but held customary ceremonies and regular political meetings in its capital Pyongyang and other cities across the country.

   It was the first anniversary of the founding of the socialist country since North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un took the helm after the death of his father Kim Jong-il last December.

   The new North Korean leader visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang to pay tribute to his grandfather, the country's founder Kim Il-sung, and his late father Kim Jong-il, who ruled the country from 1994 until his death last year, state-run media reported on Sept. 9. Both late leaders lie in perpetual state at the memorial palace.

   The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the visit was made to mark the 64th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

   The KCNA said the tribute was wrapped in a solemn atmosphere of reverence that showed the firm resolve of the people to rally around Kim Jong-un in order to guard the country and seek happiness for its people.

   It said Kim Jong-un was accompanied by notables such as Choe Ryong-hae, chief of the Political Bureau of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA), Hyon Yong-chol, chief of the KPA general staff, Jang Song-thaek, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC), and other key members of the NDC, the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, and staff members of the Supreme Command of the military.

   The KCNA, in separate reports, said that foreign leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban President Raul Castro, sent their congratulatory messages marking the regime's 64th anniversary to Kim Jong-un.

   Other countries also sent their own delegations to Pyongyang or sent congratulatory messages to the new North Korean leadership. In capital cities of other countries, North Korean diplomatic missions hosted receptions and dinner parties for the founding anniversary.

   Chinese President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message together with Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, and Wen Jiabao, premier of the State Council.

   In the message, the Chinese leaders said, "The Korean people have achieved laudable successes in the cause of building a socialist country of Korean style for over 60 years under the leadership of President Kim Il-sung, General Secretary Kim Jong-il and the WPK."

   For the past week, the North's media reported the festive mood of the anniversary. Various cultural and art performances were held in Pyongyang and other cities and counties across the socialist state.

   Newspapers carried articles praising the feats that the late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung performed to build the nation. TV and radio broadcasting services aired documentaries on them.

   Youth and student dance parties were held in various places around the capital city. Employees of industrial establishments enjoyed the national day, playing colorful sports games and enjoying art performances.

   On Sept. 8, the eve of the anniversary, a national meeting was held at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang in the presence of senior party, state and army officials including Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Premier Choe Yong-rim and other officials.

   Premier Choe said the founding of the DPRK on Sept. 9, 1948 by President Kim Il-sung was "a solemn declaration of the birth of people's Korea, the first people's country in the colonial East, and a great event which opened a new era of building the socialist state centered on the popular masses."

   "Leader Kim Jong-il who remained loyal to the President's idea and cause of nation-building put forth the original theory of nation-building based on the revolutionary outlook on the leader and led the drive for carrying them out," the premier said.

   He continued, "Dear respected Kim Jong-un named patriotism personally showed by Kim Jong-il on the road of devotion to defending the country and the prosperity Kim Jong-il's patriotism and aroused the army and the people to embody it."

   Then he said the Korean people will meet vicious challenges and obstructions of anti-reunification forces at home and abroad, but will certainly achieve the historic cause of the country's reunification by concerted efforts of all compatriots under the banner of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and the October 4 declaration.

   "If a war breaks out again on this land against the will of the Koreans due to the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces, the army and the people of the DPRK will not miss the chance but promptly deal deadly blows at them and lead it to a sacred war for national reunification," Premier Choe stressed.

   According to a KCNA report, Kim Jong-un enjoyed a performance on Sept. 9 given by the KPA's Army Song and Dance Ensemble on the occasion of the national feat. The leader was accompanied by key officials of the party, military and the cabinet.

   "The performance represented the resolution of all service personnel and people to defend dear socialism, the cradle of their happiness, to the last despite any difficulties and trial, deeply aware of the advantages of the benevolent socialist system through their life experience," the KCNA said in its English-language statement.

   Youth and students across the country held dance parties in celebration of the anniversary, the KCNA reported. The dancing venues in Pyongyang included the plazas of the Arch of Triumph, Party Founding Memorial Tower and the April 25 House of Culture.

   A banquet was given at the People's Palace of Culture to mark the DPRK anniversary. Present there were senior party, state and army officials including Kim Yong-nam, Choe Yong-rim and Choe Ryong-hae. A music and dance performance was given by the Mansudae Art Troupe at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre.

   State newspapers also marked the anniversary. The Workers' Party's mouthpiece, Rodong Sinmun, said, "It was thanks to the foundation of the DPRK on Sept. 9, 1948 that it could emerge as an independent and sovereign state in the international arena, providing a power-backed guarantee for life, destiny and prosperity of Korean people for all ages."

   Kim Il-sung's Juche-oriented idea and line of nation-building turned the DPRK into a socialist power, independent in politics, self-supporting in the economy and self-reliant in national defense, and his seasoned and tested leadership ushered in a new history of world-startling changes unknown in the nation's history, according to the news agency.

   "The destiny of the socialist country has been firmly protected and a solid foundation laid for building a thriving nation thanks to the indomitable Songun revolutionary leadership of Kim Jong-il," it said. "It is iron will of the dear respected Kim Jong-un to glorify the DPRK in the world, remaining loyal to the cause of building a rich and powerful country pioneered and advanced by the great Generalissimos Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il."

   Minju Joson, the cabinet newspaper, said that the socialist country is the most valuable legacy bequeathed by Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il out of patriotism, stressing the DPRK is demonstrating its might as a socialist power of Juche with invincible might under the leadership of Kim Jong-un.

   Meanwhile, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published in Japan, emphasized the patriotism of Kim Jong-il, which has emerged as a new catchphrase promoted by Kim Jong-un since taking the helm of the country.

   The paper published by the Association of Korean Residents in Japan said in an article that the Kim Jong-il patriotism is a directive for the construction of wealthy and thriving fatherland.

   The paper said the theory and spirit of the patriotism is penetrating into all fields of state projects to better serve the whole nation.

   On July 26, Kim Jong-un called on party officials to manage the country's land with ardent loyalty to the party and warm patriotism to the country, saying land management is a patriotic work for the eternal prosperity of the country, and a noble work for providing people with better living conditions.

   Watchers explained that patriotism is a new kind of national spirit being created with the advent of the Kim Jong-un era.

   Last year, North Korea held a military parade marking the country's 63rd founding anniversary with then leader Kim Jong-il and his then heir apparent son Kim Jong-un in attendance.