North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at a lecture to commemorate the 76th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 10, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the next day. (Yonhap)
South Korea is monitoring the possibility of North Korea holding a major event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of leader Kim Jong-un's rise to power, Seoul's unification ministry said Friday.
Kim assumed power in December 2011, following the sudden death of his late father and former leader Kim Jong-il.
"North Korea has not announced a plan for such a commemorative event as of now, but we will continue monitoring related moves as there are some needs for one to strengthen internal unity and evaluate the first year outcome of its five-year plan," deputy ministry spokesman Cha Duck-chul told a regular press briefing.
It refers to the North's economic development scheme unveiled at the country's eighth party congress in January, during which Kim admitted to a failure in his previous development plan and set out a new one.
The North was seen continuing to elevate Kim's political status marking the 10th year since he took power.
Last month, South Korea's National Intelligence Service said the North has removed portraits of Kim's father and grandfather, former leaders Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, respectively, from the backdrop of official meetings.
The North is also internally using the term Kimjongunism, like the former leaders' Kimilsungism and Kimjongilism, according to the spy agency, and increasingly referring to Kim as "suryong," a Korean word for leader which had been reserved for his predecessors.
The moves appear to be part of the North's efforts to highlight people's loyalty to Kim after the ruling party endorsed him as the "general secretary" in January, Cha said.
Kim, meanwhile, has not made a public appearance for a month after delivering a speech at a defense exhibition on Oct. 11.
"We will continue monitoring moves related to Kim's public activities," the ministry official said, adding there were multiple cases where the North Korean leader's activities were not reported in its state media for a comparatively long time. (Yonhap)