07/08/2019, 09.24
NORTH - KOREA
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Pyongyang, regime comes to a standstill to mark 25 years since death of Kim Il-sung

Kim Jong-un visits the mausoleum where his grandfather rests.  The state media exhort the North Korean people to build a powerful economy based on the principle of "self-sufficiency".  According to analysts, the appeal seems aimed at consolidating social unity.  Population  in midst of dramatic food crisis.

 

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korea stops today to remember the 25 years since the death of Kim Il-sung, founder of the communist regime.  The current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, visited the Kumsusan Sun Palace this morning.  In the imposing mausoleum the embalmed remains of his grandfather and his father, Kim Jong-il, are kept.  The state media reported that senior government and party officials accompanied the young leader.

The regime's radio and television service broadcast the visit.  The footage shows the population of Pyongyang observing a moment of silence, announced throughout the country by the sound of a siren, while the national flag at half mast.  After his rise to power in 2011, following the death of his father, Kim Jong-un paid tribute to his grandfather every year until 2017. Last year the Northern media did not broadcast any ceremony.

 While the country was following Kim's visit on TV, the state media urged the North Korean people to build a powerful economy based on the principle of "self-reliance".  "Today's grand advance in economic development is (the continuation of) a sacred and rewarding struggle of our great leaders to realize their aspirations for a patriotic and powerful country," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the country's ruling party, said in an editorial.

Raising high the slogan for self-reliance and self-sufficiency and achieving a miraculous myth once again, (we) should demonstrate to the world the reviving status of the DPRK of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il," it added, using the abbreviation of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The newspaper states that there are challenges from hostile forces that hinder the advance of the North.  Nevertheless, the country's future remains radiant because it has powerful political, military and growth potential for a self-sufficient economy.  According to analysts, the regime's emphasis on self-sufficiency seems to be aimed at consolidating social unity and urging citizens to follow the Party's new strategic line, focused on economic development.

Despite the proclamations of the regime, the North Korean population is in the midst a dramatic food crisis, according to some aggravated by the economic sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations (UN).  On June 19, the South Korean government ordered the dispatch to the North of 50,000 tons of rice through the World Food Program (WFP), a United Nations agency. 

Unification minister Kim Yeon-chul announced the second aid package set up by Seoul in recent months.  A serious drought is in progress in North Korea.  UN aid agencies report that food production fell dramatically last year, putting the lives of millions of North Koreans at risk.  Pyongyang has admitted "drawbacks" in agricultural production.

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