North Korea Promotes Military Leaders on Kim Jong Il’s Birthday
kpride, Feb. 16, 2015, 9:19 a.m.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un marked his late father's birthday on Monday with an order to promote dozens of top military officials and a visit to a mausoleum in Pyongyang. Kim conferred the rank of colonel general on Choe Kyong-son, commander of special forces and the title of lieutenant general on So Tae-ha, who represented the North in talks with Japan over Japanese nationals abducted decades ago, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Twenty-five other military officials were also promoted on the anniversary, which Pyongyang calls the Day of the Shining Star. Kim expressed his belief that those senior military officers will "fulfill their honorable responsibilities and duties in the general offensive to hasten the final victory in the revolutionary spirit of Paektu, always bearing in mind the trust and expectation of the party and the people."
Paektu refers to a mountain along the border with China, which the North claims was home to the founding leader Kim Il-sung's fight against Japan in the early 1900s. Kim Jong-un, meanwhile, paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which commemorates his father and grandfather Kim Il-sung, at midnight Monday, said the KCNA.
He was accompanied by chief of the general political bureau of the (North) Korean People's Army (KPA), Defense Minister Hyon Yong-chol and Ri Yong-gil, chief of the KPA General Staff. Pyongyang residents also set off fireworks over the Taedong River running through the capital, the North's media reported.