(2nd LD) N. Korea urges 'absolute trust' in its leader, marking his father's death anniversary
(ATTN: ADDS unification ministry official's quote in 9th para, photo)
By Choi Soo-hyang
SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state media called for "absolute trust" in leader Kim Jong-un, as the country marked 10 years since the death of former leader Kim Jong-il on Friday.
Kim died on Dec. 17, 2011, after having ruled the reclusive regime since the death of his father and national founder, Kim Il-sung, in 1994. Kim Jong-un, the third son of the late leader, took over the helm of the North in another hereditary succession of power.
In a front-page editorial, the North's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, said the country should push ahead with efforts to accomplish the first-year goals of its five-year development plan unveiled at a January party congress under Kim's leadership.
"All people and soldiers should have absolute trust in the general secretary, have their fate and future completely entrusted to him and guard his safety and authority," the editorial said.
North Korea has been kicking up a commemorative mood ahead of the anniversary with a series of events touting the late leader and highlighting loyalty to the current leader.
Kim Jong-un has paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the body of the late leader lies in state, every year to mark his father's death. But the North has yet to report if Kim has made such a visit this year.
Officials say North Korea could hold a massive public event for this year's anniversary, as Pyongyang usually marks every fifth and 10th anniversary with larger events.
The North held a large-scale gathering in Pyongyang to commemorate Kim Jong-il's death on the first, second, third and fifth anniversaries.
"We expect (the North) will show a similar tendency this year," said Cha Duck-chul, deputy spokesman for Seoul's unification ministry. "We will continue monitoring related moves as the North has a record of reporting on the events in the afternoon."
On Thursday, the North Korean Embassy in China held a memorial service to commemorate the late Kim, stressing close ties between the two countries.
Wang Chen, vice chairman of the standing committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, attended the ceremony and asked North Korean Ambassador Ri Ryong-nam to convey Chinese President Xi Jinping's "warm greetings and best wishes" to the North's leader Kim Jong-un, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"(Wang) said that the traditional China-DPRK friendship serves as precious wealth for both sides, expressing the firm stand of the Chinese side to propel the steady development of the China-DPRK friendly ties," the KCNA said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
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