North Korea marks 6th anniversary of ex-leader Kim Jong Il's death

North Korea on Sunday marked the sixth anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il with no major event, but repeated a call to pledge the same fierce allegiance to his son and the current government. From early morning, North Koreans laid flowers before the large bronze statues of Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung on Mansu Hill in the heart of snow-covered Pyongyang. They were the first two leaders of North Korea, in what has become the world's only communist family dynasty. Among those laying flowers was Kim Jong Chol, who hailed the current leader Kim Jong Un's declaration in late November -- after the most recent test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile -- that North Korea achieved "the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." "It represents the crystallization of the sweat and blood" of the current leadership, said Kim, who works at a think tank. North Korea's main official newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran an editorial on its front page praising Kim Jong Il, saying his "behests and exploits have served as the driving force for achieving epoch-making miracles in defending socialism and building a thriving country." It also said North Koreans must continue to strive to achieve the grand blueprint for national prosperity laid out by Kim Jong Il by "single-mindedly uniting around" the current leader. Last year, North Korea held a memorial service to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, 2011 at age 69. The country's current leader and thousands of officials attended that service outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, where the embalmed bodies of the two late leaders, his grandfather and father, lie in state.

12 hours ago | KYODO NEWS