North Korea Marks Kim Jong Il's Birthday
The secretive, communist nation celebrated Jong Il’s 69th birthday on Wednesday. Typically the event is marked with a military parade in Pyongyang. This year South Korea marked the day be sending 100,000 pamphlets into North Korea via “unification balloons” according to a New York Times article.
Jong Il promised to deliver a day’s worth of food to the 24 million people living in North Korea in honor of his special day. However the Associated Press reports he failed to fulfill the promise. North Korea has suffered from a food shortage for years and officials have reportedly requested food aid from foreign diplomats recently.
This year’s celebration was not as extravagant as those in the past. There is speculation that the country is saving resources for 2012, which marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder. In the past Jong Il said 2012 will be the year North Korea becomes a “powerful, prosperous nation.” Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state news agency, reports the country was “paying high tribute to the undying feats that General Secretary Kim Jong Il has performed by leading the cause of building a thriving nation to victory.”
In other North Korean news, Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un received a promotion to vice chairman of the defense commission, a position that is second only to his father. Jong Un is expected to succeed Jong Il as North Korean leader though there has been no official confirmation.
Reach Christine Detz here