North Korea marks late leader's birthday

Kim Jong-il's 70th birthday celebrated with music, fireworks and a military parade reviewed by the new leader.

    Smiling and saluting, North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-un, has reviewed a parade of thousands of soldiers who vowed to protect him with their lives as the communist country commemorated the 70th birthday of his late father, Kim Jong-il.

    Kim Jong-un, wearing a dark Mao-style suit and a solemn expression, bowed deeply before a large portrait of his smiling father in Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, the capital, on Thursday.

    Hundreds of senior officials, military leaders and citizens followed to pay their respects.

    Outside the palace, a large crowd of North Korean soldiers lined up in neat rows, listening to speeches praising the Kim family.

    Later Kim Jong-un and other officials watched as soldiers marched by, followed by military jeeps and lorries carrying artillery guns and rocket launchers.

    Fireworks exploded, military music boomed and people waved artificial pink and red flowers.

    In the months since Kim Jong-il died, portraits and sculptures praising Kim Jong-un as a wise and brave leader have sprung up across North Korea.

    This week there has been no shortage of tributes, with Kim Jong-il's birthday officially designated as Day of the Shining Star, Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports.

    He has also been posthumously elevated to the honorary post of Generalissimo, only the second person in the country to be given that title.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.