N. Korea holds grand memorial events on 30th death anniv. of national founder Kim Il-sung

North Korea has held a national memorial service and concert, attended by its leader Kim Jong-un, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of national founder Kim Il-sung, state media reported Tuesday.

The memorial events on Monday appeared to be held at a similar level to those on the 20th and 25th anniversaries despite speculations that North Korea might scale them down to focus on the personality cult for the incumbent leader.

Kim Il-sung, late grandfather of Kim Jong-un, died due to heart failure on July 8, 1994, at age 82.

Clad in a black suit, the North’s leader attended the first national memorial service event for the state founder in five years at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, according to photos carried by North Korea’s state media. Kim also took part in a memorial concert held at the Samjiyon theater.

Flanked by key officials, Kim Jong-un also paid tribute to the state founder at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the embalmed bodies of the current leader’s father, Kim Jong-il, a
nd grandfather, Kim Il-sung, lie in state. It marked his first visit to the mausoleum this year.

Kim Il-sung is long known as the role model for Kim Jong-un, whose hair and fashion style were reminiscent of those of his grandfather.

But North Korea appears to be reinforcing the personality cult for the current leader in recent months as a sole ruler warranting people’s respect.

A pin featuring the solitary portrait of Kim Jong-un was officially seen for the first time on June 30, when it was attached to the suit jackets of all North Korean officials attending a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party.

This year, North Korea also began referring to Kim Il-sung’s birthday as just “4·15” instead of the Day of the Sun in an apparent move to refrain from excessively extolling the late state founder.

South Korea’s unification ministry said North Korea appears to have staged the 30th anniversary event in line with the practice of lavishly marking anniversaries whose final numbers end in a five or zero.

Se
nior party officials attending Monday’s memorial events were seen wearing a new pin featuring Kim’s solitary portrait, with some also having on their chests an existing pin bearing an image of the two former leaders.

A ministry official said North Korea apparently did not scale down the memorial events out of concerns that its people could be confused by the regime’s move to blur out the former leaders’ feats.

“North Korea is likely to adjust the pace of the personality cult for Kim Jong-un to help its people naturally accept the process,” the official told reporters, asking not to be named.

Source: Yonhap News Agency