02/16/2009, 00.00
Send to a friend

Birthday celebration for Kim Jong-il

North Korea's "Dear Leader" turns 67 today. The country is celebrating the event with performances and free food and drink, but there is no news of Kim attending any public events. Pyongyang is preparing to launch a projectile, but is not specifying whether this will be a missile or a satellite.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Today North Korea celebrates Kim Jong-il's 67th birthday, but at the moment it is not known whether the "Dear Leader" is making any official public appearances. "This February morning that beautifully ascended with our prayers, the earnest wish running over in the heart of the millions people is the well-being and good health of our great father [Kim Jong-il]," an anchor on the official North Korean state television channel recited enthusiastically.

February 16 is the most important date for North Korea, together with April 15, the day on which Kim Il-sung was born, Kim Jong-il's father, considered the founder of the nation and still venerated today as if he were alive. Kim took the reins of the country in hand in 1994, after his father died, in what has been called the first hereditary succession of power in a communist regime.

For Kim Jong-il's birthday, the government distributed food and alcoholic beverages; the streets have been decorated with flowers and electric lamps. Various sporting events, including a performance by the women's synchronized swimming team (in the photo) marked the day. But Kim Jong-il has not attended any of the events dedicated to him, feeding the rumor mill about his real health condition after the stroke he had last August.

To celebrate the "divine commander," the communist regime is reissuing its accusations against the South Korean government, which it calls "warmongers" and proponents of "anti-reunification" policies. Pyongyang is also preparing to launch a new missile which, according to advance information, is aimed at "developing the space program" in the country. The government is not specifying whether this is a weapon or a satellite, but confirms that the program will go forward and the launch will take place regardless of the projectile's nature. "One will come to know later what will be launched in the DPRK," North Korea's official news agency KCNA has announced. "Space development is the independent right of the DPRK and the requirement of the developing reality."

For its part, South Korea criticizes the claims of Pyongyang: "Whether it is a missile or a satellite, [a launch] would constitute a violation of the U.N. Security Council's Resolution 1718," South Korean foreign minister Yu Myung-hwan stressed during a parliamentary session.

International observers are pointing out that North Korea's nuclear program and its celebrations for Kim Jong-il's birthday are at odds with the real economic conditions of the country. North Korea is going through a serious food crisis, the population is is stretched to the breaking point, and the thievery of the government and police, which are confiscating food from the people, is making living conditions even more dramatic.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
Ghost of Kim Jong-Il's health flits about North Korea
Pyongyang ready for "all-out confrontation" with Seoul and Washington
Pyongyang, the olive branch and the hammer for Hillary Clinton and Obama
Seoul: Kim Jong Il better following health problems


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”