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North Korea commemorates 5th anniversary of former leader's death

North Korea on Saturday held a large-scale gathering in Pyongyang to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the death of its former leader Kim Jong-il, the communist country's state media reported.

The North's official Korean Central Television said that the massive gathering took place at the square in front of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the embalmed bodies of the current leader's father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung lie in state.

From 3:30 p.m. (South Korean time), the state television broadcast the recorded event in which the North's leader Kim Jong-un and other top officials such as Hwang Pyong-so, the director of the military's general political bureau, and Choe Ryong-hae, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, participated.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) attends a gathering to commemorate the fifth anniversary of its father Kim Jong-il's death in Pyongyang on Saturday. (Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) attends a gathering to commemorate the fifth anniversary of its father Kim Jong-il's death in Pyongyang on Saturday. (Yonhap)


In his commemorative speech, Choe Ryong-hae touted Kim's military feats, noting the late leader brought the country to the status as a nuclear power.

"By strengthening and developing the defense and revolutionary industry, he graced our nation as the world-class military power and dignified nuclear power," he said in his speech.

It is the first time since 2014 that the country has held a large-scale gathering to commemorate the death of the late strongman. 

Earlier in the morning, the incumbent leader and top party and military officials paid their respects at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. Kim's wife Ri Sol-ju was not seen paying her own respects at the palace. (Yonhap)

 

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