Kim Jong-un visits mausoleum to mark 100th day of late leader‘s death
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a mausoleum of his father Sunday to mark the 100th day of the death of the late North Korean leader amid rising tensions over Pyongyang's plans to launch a rocket.
"Kim Jong Un, the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army and supreme leader of the Workers' Party of Korea and people, Sunday visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, reflecting the profound condolences of all the service personnel and the people across the country and progressive mankind, and profoundly mourned for leader Kim Jong Il on the 100th day since his demise," the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, ascended to power after Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on Dec. 17.
North Korea has announced plans to launch a long-range rocket to place a satellite into orbit in mid-April, jeopardizing a February deal with Washington to get food aid in return for Pyongyang's freezing of nuclear and long-range missile activities.
U.S. President Barak Obama and scores of other world leaders are flocking to Seoul to attend a biennial nuclear security summit on Monday and Tuesday, where the North's planned rocket launch is poised to get high attention on the margins.
Washington threatened not to provide food aid to Pyongyang and warned of strained ties unless the North abandons its rocket launch plans.
Kim Jong-un was accompanied to the Kumsusan Palace by senior officials of the government, military and ruling Workers' Party, according to the KCNA.
"Kim Jong Un together with senior officials of the party, the state and armed forces organs entered the hall where the portrait of smiling Kim Jong Il is hung," the KCNA report said. "Kim Jong Un together with them observed a moment's silence in memory of Kim Jong Il and deeply mourned for him."
The "dear respected Kim Jong Un" also attended "a solemn national memorial service" held in Pyongyang Sunday "on the 100th day since the demise of leader Kim Jong Il," the KCNA said.
Senior officials of the party, state and military who took part in the memorial service "observed a moment's silence in humblest reverence in memory of Kim Jong Il," the report said.
Choe Yong Rim, prime minister and member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers' Party, lauded Kim Jong-il for the military-first "Songun politics," saying he "turned the DPRK into a world military power and a full-fledged nuclear weapons state in the most difficult period of the Korean revolution."
The participants observed a moment's silence to the memory of Kim Jong-il amid gun salute, the KCNA said, adding, "Similar memorial services took place in all provinces, cities and counties on this day." (Yonhap)