iconimg Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Agence France-Presse
Seoul, December 16, 2012
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un led thousands of officials in a triumphant memorial service for his late father and ex-ruler Kim Jong-Il, days after a long-range rocket launch, state TV showed on Sunday. The service followed a mass rally two days earlier that also lauded the launch of the three-stage rocket, a move which was condemned by the UN Security Council and seen by many countries as a disguised ballistic missile test.

Kim Jong-Il, who ruled the communist state for nearly two decades, died of heart attack on December 17 in 2011.

His youngest son, Jong-Un, immediately took over in the third-generation power transfer of the Kim dynasty which ruled the isolated country for more than six decades with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.

On Sunday, Jong-Un, stone-faced and clad in black Mao suit, was seen sitting at the stage along with dozens of other top officials against a giant red flag in the background featuring a large portrait of smiling Kim Jong-Il.

"The heart of the great leader stopped beating but the comrade Kim Jong-Il lives with us forever...to give blessing for the bright future of our people," the ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam said in a speech.

"The successful launch of our Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite is also another victory achieved by our military and people, by faithfully following the teachings of the great leader (Kim Jong-Il)," he said.

The impoverished but nuclear-armed North staged the widely-condemned rocket in an apparent bid to mark the anniversary and to drum up more support for the young and inexperienced leader Jong-Un.

The North said the apparently successful launch -- its second after its much-heralded but botched mission in April -- was a scientific project to put its weather satellite into the orbit.
   
But the United States and allies South Korea and Japan view it as a disguised long-range missile test banned under UN resolutions triggered by its past nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.