N. Korea Marks 1st Anniversary of Kim's Death

Missile launch leaves Pyongyang in upbeat mood
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 17, 2012 3:43 AM CST
N. Korea Marks 1st Anniversary of Kim's Death
North Koreans bow before the statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, right, at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang today/   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

North Koreans across the country stopped in their tracks at midday today to silently honor former ruler Kim Jong Il, whose death one year ago swept his untested 20-something son to power. The son, Kim Jong Un, presided over a solemn ceremony in Pyongyang to reopen the sprawling granite mausoleum where his father's embalmed remains will lie in state near those of his grandfather, the nation's founder Kim Il Sung. The younger Kim's appearance also gave a look at a possible fourth generation: He was accompanied by wife Ri Sol Ju, who appeared to be heavily pregnant, reports Reuters.

The mood in the capital was decidedly more upbeat a year after the elder Kim's death, with some of the euphoria carrying over from last week's successful launch of a rocket carrying a satellite named for one of Kim Jong Il's many titles, Kwangmyongsong, or "Lode Star," a nickname given to him at birth. Speaking outside the mausoleum, the military's top political officer said North Korea should be proud of the satellite, calling it a show of strength to the world. Much of the rest of the world, however, was swift in condemning the launch. (More rocket stories.)

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