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(2nd LD) N. Korea to issue commemorative coins marking late former leader's birthday

North Korea 16:36 February 15, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with release of photo booklet in last 4 paras; ADDS photo)
By Chae Yun-hwan

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will issue commemorative coins to mark the upcoming birth anniversary of its late leader, state media reported Tuesday, in a move to kick up a festive mood for the national holiday.

The standing committee of the Supreme People's Assembly decided to issue the gold and silver coins in celebration of the 80th birthday of Kim Jong-il, late father of current leader Kim Jong-un, which falls on Wednesday this year, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The coins are engraved with an image of the former leader and the other side has that of what the North claims to be his birthplace located at the foot of Mount Paekdu, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, a released photo showed.

This captured image from the website of the Rodong Sinmun in North Korea on Feb. 15, 2022, shows commemorative gold coins marking the 80th birth anniversary of the North's late leader Kim Jong-il. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The North has often released commemorative coins on the occasion of landmark anniversaries and events.

The move comes as the North is holding various events for the milestone anniversary, with keen attention being paid to whether it will stage a large-scale military parade.

The third-day performance of an arts concert took place in Pyongyang on Monday. Other events included a ball hosted by the Socialist Women's Union of Korea, a speech symposium on the late leader's achievements and cooking contests, according to the KCNA.

Meanwhile, the North's Foreign Languages Publishing House distributed a photo book highlighting the former leader's efforts to strengthen Pyongyang's ties with Moscow.

Composed of around 240 pages, it includes pictures on four rounds summits between the two countries in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2011 when Kim Jong-il held power.

It described the 2000 summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang as "a historic milestone in providing a solid foundation for developing the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries." It marked Putin's first visit to North Korea since taking power.

Kim is known for devoting himself to Pyongyang's relations with Moscow, which had become strained during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This image from a photo booklet released by the North's Foreign Languages Publishing House on Feb. 15, 2022, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (R) during the Russian leader's visit to Pyongyang in 2000. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency, shows an art performance held in Pyongyang on the second day of the First People's Art Festival, celebrating the upcoming 80th birth anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Feb. 13, 2022. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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