North Korea calls for loyalty to leader ahead of late founder’s death anniversary

Seoul: North Korea’s state media on Sunday called for loyalty to its leader, Kim Jong-un, ahead of the death anniversary of the founder of the country, Kim Il-sung, later this week, amid tensions over the North’s weapons testing and defence pact with Russia.

The North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, made the call as the nation is set to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Kim Il-sung, who ruled the country from 1948 to 1994 and is the grandfather of the current ruler, Kim Jong-un, on Monday.

“The path of wholeheartedly following the will of (Kim Jong-un), it is on this path there lies the eternal life of the great leader, and the path to most perfectly and excellently realising the great leader’s lifelong wish,” an article on its front page read.

State media refer to Kim Il-sung by the title “great leader,” reports Xinhua news agency.

The article listed a series of projects undertaken by the current leader, such as building a new training school of the ruling party, calling them the wishes of the late founder.

Kim Jong-un’s hair and fashion style early in his rule was similar to that of Kim Il-sung, with observers saying the look was intended to secure loyalty from the public and consolidate power.

North Korea usually holds big commemorative ceremonies on every fifth or 10th anniversary of a major national event. The country held large-scale commemorations for the 20th and 25th death anniversaries of the late founder in 2014 and 2019, respectively.


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