Seoul, Feb 16 (IANS) North Korea on Tuesday commemorated the 74th birth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il who is credited with providing momentum to the country’s controversial nuclear weapons programme.
North Korean State Television said in a report on the anniversary celebrations that the “Dear Leader”, born in 1942, was able to turn North Korea into a power assuring the country’s sovereignty against “imperialist forces”, including the US, EFE news reported.
Photos released by North Korea showed citizens queuing up to make floral offerings at the feet of the great statue of Kim Jong-il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang.
At the moment, it is not known if there are other events lined up for the day, although a military parade or any other mass event has been ruled out.
The state media on Monday paid tribute to the late leader who is the second of the three leaders of the Kim dynasty.
Leader Kim Jong-un Saturday also promoted 35 army officers, to mark his late father’s birth anniversary.
Kim Jong-il, who ruled the country for 17 years from 1994 till his death in December 2011, gave a definitive boost to its missile and nuclear weapons programmes under the “Songun” doctrine that prioritises the military sector.
His years in power were also marked by poverty and the collapse of the food distribution system which caused a famine that claimed the lives of between 500,000 and two million people by the end of the 1990s.