North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, flanked by senior military officials, visited the mausoleum of his late father Tuesday to pay tribute on a major anniversary, state media said.
Kim visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which houses the embalmed bodies of his late father and grandfather, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-Il, was formally made the country’s top military commander on December 24 in 1991 — three years before the death of his own father and the country’s founding president, Kim Il-Sung.
TV news footage showed Kim, clad in a dark Mao suit, standing before the white statues of his two predecessors, accompanied by dozens of uniformed military officials who bowed deeply towards the statues.
“Kim Jong-Un, together with other visitors, paid high tribute to the statues,” KCNA said.
Among the top military cadres accompanying the young ruler were Choe Ryong-Hae, the director of the military’s political department, and defence chief Jang Jong-Nam, the report said.
The visit was made twelve days after Kim executed his once-powerful uncle in the biggest political upheaval since he took power after the death of his father two years ago.
Jang Song-Thaek, once the country’s unofficial number two, was executed on December 12 after being accused of corruption and plotting a coup.
The shock purge — staged in an unusually public and dramatic fashion — raised concern about potential political instability in the isolated communist state.
Jang, 67, played a key role in cementing the power of the inexperienced Kim, but his increasing political influence and power was resented by his nephew barely half his age, analysts said.
Jang’s growing control over the country’s lucrative mineral trades drew ire of other top officials and played a role in his downfall, Seoul’s intelligence chief said Monday.
The reclusive state’s propaganda mill has since gone into overdrive describing Jang as a traitor while extolling Kim’s leadership.
Tens of thousands of troops also pledged loyalty to him on the death anniversary of his father last Tuesday.
The Kim dynasty has ruled the impoverished but nuclear-armed state since 1948 with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]