North Korea commemorates anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death – just days after execution of his former brother-in-law

Kim Jong Un leads ceremonies in display of ‘single-minded unity’ following purge of his uncle

North Korea marked the second anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il today, just days after the country was rocked by a political purge that saw his brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek executed.

Kim Jong Un watched on in silence at a service in Pyongyang, where military and party officials paid tribute to his late father.

The day’s main event comes as the latest in a series of highly-publicised events which seek to portray the country of “single-minded unity” claimed in official government messages.

Choosing not to speak at the ceremony, Mr Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong Nam, the ceremonial head of state, and Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae, representing the military, occupying the spaces where his once-powerful uncle might have been.

All those attending in the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium bowed their heads to observe the North Korean national anthem, and three minutes of silence were observed at the start of the ceremony, with proceedings overseen by a huge portrait of the late leader.

“Once more, our people's army is firmly determined to guarantee the victory of our great general's revolutionary cause,” Vice Marshal Choe said, adding that the military would “hold high the flag of the party” and follow “the ever-victorious leadership of our supreme commander”.

Mr Jang's wife, Kim Kyong Hui, who is Kim Jong Un's aunt and was Kim Jong Il’s sister, did not appear at Tuesday's memorial. But she was acknowledged by state media over the weekend in relation to the funeral of another top official, a sign that she has survived Jang's removal.

Kim Jong Un attends an event marking the death of his father Kim Jong Un attends an event marking the death of his father Despite constant assertions of unity and strength, North Korea was forced to admit its government had indeed felt the impact of the leadership challenge by Kim's former mentor and uncle after the death of his father in 2011.

There were no mass public displays of grief today to match the mourning that followed Kim Jong Il’s death two years ago. The anniversary was not made a public holiday, though citizens were expected to attend workplace memorial gatherings.

The purge which saw Jang executed no longer makes state media headlines in the country, in keeping with his deletion from at least one recent documentary.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Design Lead

£23958 - £29282 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Guru Careers: Bathroom Showroom Manager / Bathroom Sales Designer

£22 - £25k basic + Commission=OTE £35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Bathroom Sh...

Recruitment Genius: HR Recruitment Advisor

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of children's ser...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones