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N. Korea in festive mood ahead of late leader's birthday

All News 09:32 February 10, 2022

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is revving up a festive mood ahead of late leader Kim Jong-il's 80th birthday next week, opening a series of commemorative events, according to Pyongyang's state media Thursday.

Kim, father of current leader Kim Jong-un, led the reclusive regime from 1994 until his death in 2011. His birthday, which falls on Feb. 16, is marked as a major national holiday in the North.

On Wednesday, the North held a national awards ceremony in Pyongyang in commemoration of him, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

It awarded 8,732 officials, workers and soldiers of merit for carrying out policies of the ruling Workers' Party, including four with the Order of Kim Jong-il, according to the North's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

Other events marking the late leader's birthday were held in the capital the same day, including a symposium to discuss his achievements, a cooking contest and an exhibition of visual artworks on the late leader, the KCNA added.

Eyes are on whether Pyongyang will hold a massive public event for the anniversary, as it usually marks every fifth and 10th anniversary with larger celebrations. Keen attention is being paid to whether it will stage another military parade.

This file photo, captured from North Korea's Central TV, shows North Korean people and soldiers offering flowers in front of the statues of late North Korea founder Kim Il-sung and his late son Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang on the occasion of the 74th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army on Feb. 8, 2022. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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