North Korea's Kim Jong-un celebrates 2nd anniversary in power, as new Number 2 issues dire threats
North Korea leader looks to firm up power base with anniversary celebrations and hawkish talk from his new deputy, who recently replaced his executed predecessor -- Kim Jong-un's uncle. Is Kim's aunt next to be shot?
Major public celebrations were held on Sunday in North Korea to celebrate the second anniversary of the accession to power of the country's leader Kim Jong-un.
Leading South Korean news agency Yonhap said the mass public acclaim accorded to Kim "was the latest in a series of events staged to show that the young leader is firmly in charge after the execution of ... his powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek, [which prompted] speculation of instability in Pyongyang's inner circle".
To firm up an image of continuity, a putative new Number 2 has taken Kim's uncle's place -- Choe Ryong-hae, the director of the military's political department.
According to Yonhap, quoting remarks form North Korean Television, Choe said at the key ceremony:
"The people's armed forces should hold higher the slogan of protecting comrade Kim Jong-un with our lives ....Should the enemy leave even a speck of a mark on our land, we will wipe out all aggressors and achieve the historical mission of unification of the fatherland."
Although aggressive rhetoric is typical of the secretive communist regime, the recent execution of Kim's uncle has led to speculation among analysts and journalists that Kim may feel the need to prove himself to the senior circle around him, as well as to the wider world.
They say that the execution was a warning to domestic opponents while Choe's remarks were designed to enhance the leader's public respect on foreign policy, and warn off the West against taking any further diplomatic or economic measures against the nuclear armed regime.
The wife of the North Korean leader's executed uncle (ie. Kim's aunt) and a Workers Party secretary for inter-Korean affairs were absent from the podium. No reason for their absence was given, though absences of this kind on such high profile occasions are usually a sign of trouble to come for the absentees, and touble often involves a firing squad.
According to the Black Book of Communism, written by a group of European academics, 2 million people have been killed throughout communist rule in North Korea.
We are wholly dependent on the kindness of our readers for our continued work. We thank you in advance for any support you can offer.