N. Korea marks 30th anniversary of regime founder's death amid tensions with S. Korea

By Park Ung Posted : July 8, 2024, 17:17 Updated : July 8, 2024, 17:43
People gather to pay respects to the statues of former leaders in Pyongyang on July 7 2024 AP-Yonhap
People gather to pay respects to the statues of former leaders in Pyongyang on July 7, 2024. AP-Yonhap
SEOUL, July 8 (AJU PRESS) - North Korea appears to be in a festive mood on Monday, marking the 30th anniversary of regime founder Kim Il-sung's death.

The North's state-run Rodong Sinmun Sunday fervently praised his achievements, calling him "a devoted leader" who ruled the renegade country for nearly half a century.

All eyes are now on whether the current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will visit his grandfather's mausoleum. Since he came into power in 2012, Kim junior has visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang every year except for 2018, where his father and grandfather lie in state.

Last year, state media claimed that he visited, but it remained uncertain as no photos were released. It remains to be seen if he will emerge to pay his respects to his grandfather this year.

Unification Ministry spokesperson Koo Byung-sam said in a daily briefing that it is "uncertain" if he will make a public appearance to mark the anniversary. "We're closely monitoring the situation," he added.

Kim Il-sung died of heart failure in 1994 at the age of 82, leading his son Kim Jong-il to take over in the communist country's first hereditary succession of power. The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea with an iron fist for over 70 years.

The anniversary came amid heightened tensions between the two Koreas after North Korea has sent hundreds of trash-filled balloons towards South Korea since late May. That prompted the South to conduct live-fire artillery drills near the border areas early this month for the first time in six years.

Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong Monday warned against South Korea, referring to the drills as "suicidal hysteria."
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