Kim Jong-Un stages massive rally

2012-06-06 21:37
This screen grab taken off North Korean TV shows children reacting as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un speaks during a ceremony to mark the 66th anniversary of the Korean Children's Union held in Pyongyang. (AFP/North Korean TV)

This screen grab taken off North Korean TV shows children reacting as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un speaks during a ceremony to mark the 66th anniversary of the Korean Children's Union held in Pyongyang. (AFP/North Korean TV)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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.


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.

Read more on:    kim jong-un  |  north korea

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.