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N. Korea holds quinquennium memorial for founder

2014/07/08 15:40

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un led a national memorial service on Tuesday in Pyongyang to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of his grandfather and the state founder Kim Il-sung.

As the ceremony was broadcast live through the North's state-run Korean Central Television monitored in Seoul, Kim drew the attention of South Korean news media because he appeared to be limping slightly as he walked to his seat. The reason for the limp is not known.

It marked Kim's first appearance in an official quinquennium memorial for his grandfather as a North Korean leader as the last memorial service of this kind was held in 2009, attended by the late leader Kim Jong-il.

The communist country has held widely-published memorial services for the founder's death every five and 10 years, apparently in efforts to revive the memory of the highly-revered founder who died in 1994 and to spur allegiance to the ruling Kim family.

Late leader Kim Jong-il's younger sister, Kyong-hui, was not present at the event in the Pyongyang Gymnasium, an absence probably traceable to the shocking execution of her husband and the leader's once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

The North's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, extolled the three-generation power inheritance in his speech to the meeting, saying that "Splendidly solving the succession issue of revolutionary achievements was the greatest of comrade Kim Il-sung's works achieved for his country and its people's future."

   North Korea is "the most stable socialist (nation) with a solid unity among the leader, the party and the public with strong independence and national characteristics," he said in defense of the country's political system.

A host of top echelon military and political officials attended the national event, including the military's top political officer, Hwang Pyong-so, Premier Pak Pong-ju as well as Choe Ryong-hae, a governing party secretary.

North Korea's state Korean Central Television shows leader Kim Jong-un attending a national memorial service on July 8, 2014, marking the 20th anniversary of national founder Kim Il-sung's death. (Yonhap)

North Korea's state Korean Central Television shows leader Kim Jong-un attending a national memorial service on July 8, 2014, marking the 20th anniversary of national founder Kim Il-sung's death. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr

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