North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday paid tribute to his father and grandfather at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and attended an art performance, state media reported, in a series of visits to mark the 74th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
In his second public appearance this month, the North Korean leader was reported to have “paid homage” to the country’s late former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il — a regular tradition on major public holidays in the DPRK.
“The Supreme Leader, together with the visitors, made a deep bow before the statues,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
He was accompanied by top officials, including second-in-command Choe Ryong Hae, ruling party Central Committee vice-chairman Pak Pong Ju, and Premier Kim Jae Ryong.
Kim then attended a musical performance, though he did not deliver any remarks.
“The performers highly praised the Party for having trained tens of millions of sons and daughters on this land into heroes of the era and creators of history from the first day of its founding and opened the new era of miracles and changes unprecedented in the human history,” KCNA reported.
“They sang hymns of the era reflecting the boundless reverence and thanks for the great leaders and the Supreme Leader who set and glorified an example of the times in the building of the revolutionary party,” it continued.
Many of the same top officials also accompanied the leader at the concert, with state media reporting that “veteran officials who had worked in important posts of the Party and the government for a long period” had been in attendance.
State media also reported on other celebrations across the country, with citizens reported to have held “dancing parties” and a number of concerts and art performances were said to have taken place.
An editorial in Thursday’s edition of ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun hailed the country’s “militant party with the firm monolithic ideological system” and the leadership of Kim Jong Un.
“The glorious history of the WPK which has emerged ever-victorious holding aloft the banner of a single-minded unity is energetically carried forward under the guidance of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un,” it said.
“The WPK led by Kim Jong Un will as ever record the history of victory, dignity and prosperity upholding the banner of a single-minded unity.”
But the celebrations represented a comparatively low-key party foundation day — an anniversary which has in previous years seen the country hold large-scale rallies in central Pyongyang.
The party’s 70th anniversary in 2015, for example, saw the country stage a military parade in the DPRK capital.
But this year’s more toned-down approach also echoes proceedings last year and are fairly typical, one expert said.
“This year’s celebration of the party founding anniversary seems to be in line with how North Korea marks this anniversary in non-quinquennial and non-decennial years,” Minyoung Lee, a senior analyst with NK News’s sister site NK Pro.
“The most striking aspect of state media’s handling of this year’s party founding anniversary is the emphasis on Kim Jong Un’s party-building accomplishments,” she added.
Party foundation day marks the anniversary of the creation of the Communist Party of Korea, the historic precursor to the DPRK’s ruling WPK.
“Diplomacy-wise, this holiday is arguably somewhat less important than the national foundation day, as it can be used only to built ties with countries ruled by a communist party,” Fyodor Tertitskiy, a senior researcher at Seoul’s Kookmin University, said. “For example, the Russian embassy does not attend the celebrations.”
“Kim Jong Un is yet to use this holiday for any major event,” he continued. “His father began to formally lead the Party in October 1997 and had the first nuclear test conducted near October 10.”
Edited by James Fretwell
Featured image: KCNA