Today, North Korea commemorated the death on July 8th, 1994 of founding leader Kim Il Sung.
At midnight, Kim Jong Eun and top Party cadres visited Keumsusan Memorial Palace to pay their respects to Kim’s embalmed corpse, mirroring Kim Jong Il’s annual pilgrimage to the same location. In a country still wedded to Confucian values, such a display of filial piety was to be expected, even more so given that the regime is striving to reinforce Kim’s role as the successor to the Mt. Beakdu bloodline.
Kim was joined by top Party secretaries Choi Ryong Hae, Lee Young Ho, Kim Jeong Gak, Hyun Cheol Hae, Choi Bu Il and Son Cheol Joo. He also delivered a commemorative bouquet to the main statues of the two Kims on Mansudae Hill today, upon which was written the famous slogan; “Great leaders comrade Kim Il Sung and comrade Kim Jong Il are always with us.”
Kim’s trip came after the state media worked unusually hard to establish an atmosphere of reverence. Normally the propaganda effort to establish a mourning atmosphere starts on the 6th; however, this year Rodong Shinmun, Chosun Central TV et al. set to work a little earlier, coming out with articles lamenting Kim’s death from the very beginning of July.
Rodong Shinmun launched the push on the 1st with an editorial, “Let Us Brightly Complete the Great Suryeong’s Revolutionary Tasks!” alongside four other articles about Kim’s greatness, including a feature article, “The People Can Never Forget”. Including photos, it introduced Kim’s visit to Yeonpung Cooperative Farm in June 1980 to verify the status of the rice crop.
This was just the beginning. The following day saw “The Final Day of Great Devotion” and four other similar articles; the 5th included “The Banner of Independence Raised High by the Great Suryeong” and a further six; while on the 6th readers were offered no less than eleven articles in total.
The 6th and 7th also saw rafts of material on state TV, further embellishing the image of Kim, and via him his grandson.