North Korea marks 1st death anniversary of Kim Jong-il

Against the backdrop of a successful rocket launch, North Korea on Monday marked the first anniversary of Kin Jong-il’s death.

Zeenews Bureau

Pyongyang: Against the backdrop of a successful rocket launch, North Korea on Monday marked the first anniversary of Kin Jong-il’s death.

Kim Jong-il died on 17 December 2011, though it was reported after two days.

Basking in the glory of the recent rocket launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid his respect to his late father at the memorial hall in Pyongyang which houses the Kin Jong-il’s embalmed body.

North Korea held a mass rally on Friday to mark the rocket`s success and another on Sunday to commemorate Kim Jong-il, the BBC reported.

The launch suggests that Kim will continue carrying out his father Kim Jong Il`s policies even if they draw sanctions and international condemnation.

The West sees the rocket as a thinly disguised way of carrying out U.N-banned tests of long-range missile technology, which it says not only threatens regional stability but is also a waste of resources when the country is struggling with a chronic food shortage.

There are concerns also that in upcoming weeks, Pyongyang will press ahead with a nuclear test, necessary in the march toward building a warhead small enough to be carried by a long-range missile.

At a somber memorial service Sunday, North Korea`s top leadership eulogized Kim Jong Il and his son, who is certain to have gained national prestige and clout by going ahead with the rocket launch.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korea`s parliament, credited Kim Jong Il with building Pyongyang`s nuclear weapons program, and called the satellite launch a "shining victory" and an emblem of the promise that lies ahead with his son in power.

Top military official Choe Ryong Hae, meanwhile, warned that the army was prepared to defend the country`s sovereignty.

Wednesday`s launch was North Korea`s second attempt in eight months to fulfill Kim Jong Il`s 14-year quest to put a satellite into space. International experts confirmed that the rocket succeeded in reaching space.

The launch fit neatly into the preparations to mark the first anniversary of Kim`s death and the rise of his young son.

A launch in April, sent amid festivities to mark the centenary of the birth of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, ended in failure shortly after liftoff.

Kim Jong Un made clear his intention to treat Wednesday`s successful launch as a gift to his father.

With Agency Inputs

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