North Korea to pardon convicts

2012-01-10 21:03

kalahari.com

Seoul - North Korea said on Tuesday it will issue special pardons for convicts, a rare move that appeared to be aimed at boosting the popularity of young new leader Kim Jong Un as he attempts to fill his late father's shoes.

Efforts to show Kim is firmly in control have provided a drumbeat of news reports in state media since his father, Kim Jong Il, died Dec 17.

On Tuesday, North Korea's state television showed top military officers again swearing fervent pledges of loyalty, vowing to become human "rifles and bombs" to defend Kim Jong Un, who was recently appointed supreme commander of the armed forces.

The amnesty, to be issued beginning Feb 1, is to commemorate what would have been Kim Jong Il's 70th birthday in February and the 100th anniversary in April of the birth of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

The North's Korean Central News Agency did not say what sorts of crimes would be pardoned or how many inmates would be freed.

The pardons will be the first such dispensations in more than six years.

The measure appears aimed at winning public confidence for Kim Jong Un as the country struggles to revive its troubled economy, said Kim Kwang-in, a researcher at the Seoul-based North Korea Strategy Center.

A UN envoy on human rights in North Korea said last year that the country is estimated to hold up to 200 000 people in political prison camps. The North has denied the existence of gulags.

North Korea occasionally marks significant holidays by granting amnesties, and Pyongyang has promoted this year's Kim Il Sung centenary as a significant milestone in the country's history. 

Live or die

North Korea last conducted such a special pardon in August 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

Soldiers and top military officers, meanwhile, pledged to "live or die" with Kim Jong Un and shouted slogans such as "Devoted defence of Kim Jong Un," state television showed.

Later on Monday, troops marched outside Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where Kim Il Sung's body lies in state, as thick haze blanketed the plaza.

Neither Kim Jong Un nor senior ruling party officials were seen at the rally.

"We will build a 10 000-fold bulwark for protecting the supreme commander and become rifles and bombs to serve as Kim Jong Un first-line lifeguards and Kim Jong Un first-line death-defying corps," Ri Yong Ho, chief of the military's general staff, said, his voice resonating across the plaza as thousands of troops stood in neat columns.

A large signboard standing from the troops read, "Let's unite, unite and unite around dear comrade Kim Jong Un," the footage showed. In a well-choreographed joint pledge of allegiance, nine troops from army, air force and navy stood in a row and vowed "merciless retaliation" should their enemies attack.

North Korea has staged a series of rallies nationwide vowing to unite around Kim Jong Un and uphold his father's "military-first policy."

During a massive public memorial for the elder Kim on Dec 29, North Korea declared Kim Jong Un "supreme leader" of the ruling Workers' Party, the military and the country.

For the second time since Sunday, state television replayed a documentary focused on Kim Jong Un's military experience that shows him in the cockpit of a tank, galloping by on horseback and poring over documents at night.

North Korea is seeking to extend the Kim dynasty into a third generation as North Korea grapples with chronic food shortages and remains locked in a long-running stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Pyongyang and Washington recently met for talks on food aid and how to restart nuclear disarmament talks, but those discussions were suspended after Kim Jong Il's death.

The Korean peninsula remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28 500 US troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential North Korean aggression.

- AP

Read more on:    kim jong un  |  north korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.