News24

Kim Jong-Un stages massive rally

2012-06-06 21:37

Pyongyang - North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday made his second speech at a major public event since taking power in December, addressing a children's rally aimed at winning a new generation's support.

About 20 000 young people gathered at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Stadium for a speech that capped an unprecedented six-day children's festival. The celebrations took place two days after North Korea's military threatened to fire at South Korean media companies unless they apologised for criticisms of the festivities, including a report comparing the event to Hitler Youth rallies during Germany's Nazi era.

North Korea typically holds mass events for landmark anniversaries such as the leaders' birthdays and the founding of the Workers' Party or military. It is the first time such extensive celebrations have been organised for the founding of the Korean Children's Union, the first political organisation young North Koreans join.

Loyal followers

North Korean children are taught from an early age to be loyal to the Kim family, with education about the childhoods and accomplishments of founder Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il beginning in kindergarten. Seeing and hearing their new leader in person is likely to reinforce a sense of paternal awe among the children, who are raised to refer to the leaders as "father."

Kim walked into the stadium, accompanied by two children, to the cheers of the young delegates to the Korean Children's Union. He was wearing the red scarf of the political organization around his neck as he smiled and laughed with them.

"By mingling with kids, Kim Jong-Un is showing that he is a leader who can interact with the public," said Ahn Chan-il, a political scientist who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, South Korea. "He understands that one of the keys to winning back the respect of the people is by starting with the young generation."

By speaking publicly twice in his six months as leader, Kim already is distinguishing himself from his father. Kim Jong Il, who died in December, addressed the public only once, two years before he succeeded father Kim Il Sung.

Anniversary

Kim told the children, who were dispatched to Pyongyang for the gathering by plane, train and bus from across the nation, that they were the future masters of "a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony."

The 66th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Children's Union is marked on 6 June, with students joining at age 7 until they graduate at age 13 to the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League.

South Korean media have called the festivities "a political show". The criticism prompted the North Korean military to warn it would fire at South Korean media outlets if Seoul refused to apologise for orchestrating what North Korea called a "vicious smear campaign."

The North's statement was the latest in a series of threats aimed at South Korea's president and news agencies following the death of Kim Jong Il, which Pyongyang feels was not respectfully acknowledged by Seoul.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a state of war because their conflict of the years 1950 to 1953 ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Comments
  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-07 00:11

    He's but a child/teenager himself. Truly, what does he know about life and the world at that age. This is why nepotism is counter-evolutionary and wrong.

      jlushaba - 2012-06-07 05:24

      Queen Elizabeth II also took power at abt the same age. What dd she knw abt the world? Bt look, she's celebrating 60yrz in power n most ppl love her. When she passes, Prince William might take over, stl young hmslf bt the British prefare Him over His father..... North Koreans seem to love their leaders aswell

      jaba.kov - 2012-06-07 06:24

      North Koreans are starving and have neither rights nor freedoms; the British citizens are free, happy and go to sleep every night on a full stomach. Have you seen a North Korean tourist before? They not allowed out of the "prison" so they don’t see the bigger picture. jlushaba its a discredit that you get to live in a Democracy here, yet have zero value for your own freedom - like the freedom to write your sad opinion on News24.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-07 07:23

      Jlushaba, the British monarchy has no political power.

  • jlushaba - 2012-06-07 05:18

    there's something I fail to understand sometimes. Britain has been ruled by 1 family for yearz. Bt it seems lyk other countries are'nt allowed to do it aswell. Age doesnt matter, aslng as the leader is intelligent, wise and has best advisors. . Eg, Zulu King took power at abt d same age n d British Queen aswell. And they r leading their ppl well

      jaba.kov - 2012-06-07 06:19

      The British throne does not rule England - It hasn’t for centuries. The Royals were kept in their place for symbolic purposes and in the 20th century they bring in more tourist dollars then any other attraction in the United Kingdom. The British are democratic and can vote if they want change - the North Koreans will be killed if they ever (dare) to ask for change.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-07 06:14

    ""a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter...."" Hungry and oppressed people hardly ever laugh!!! If these hugh gatherings were on a comic tv channel , it would be fun to watch, but them being on a 'news channel' is pretty scaring !!!!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-06-07 08:37

      Bookmak this and watch , crazy stuff: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/vice-guide-travel-north-korea/

  • Ryno - 2012-06-07 07:59

    well - it would still much rather live in SA with all our shyte that we have here than there. good luck to these young minds - may they eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel

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