February 25, 2024

Three-year anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death important milestone

Traditional mourning period handled differently by Kim Jong Un, but still meaningful for succession

The third anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death, December 17, 2014, may very well turn out to be the most significant one historically in terms of North Korea’s leadership structure and policy trajectory. While Pyongyang will not likely proclaim all the important developments on this date or even publicly link them to this date, historians and North Korea watchers may eventually consider it a dividing line in how Kim Jong Un and his inner circle operate and how they govern the country. That is, of course, if many predictions and apparent plans play out as anticipated.

Pyongyang itself has been speaking of the significance of the three-year period following Kim Jong Il’s death. On December 15, the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency published a report “to Commemorate (the) 3rd Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's Demise.” This article focused primarily on Kim Jong Un’s own efforts to honor his father and carry on his legacy as leader of North Korea.