North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI Birthday: In Through the Out Door

Last Wednesday (10 February) was the official start of the weeklong celebration of Kim Jong-il’s birthday.  Officially Kim Jong-il was born 16 February 1942 (making him 68) in a log cabin on Mt. Paektu; in actuality KJI was born in early February, 1941 at a Soviet military base and he is 69 years of age.  Then again these are minor technical matters because in growing older, as William Empson pointed out, we all eventually reach the same age.

John Glionna sums up the birthday celebrations, and health gossip for the LA TimesKorea Times‘ Kim Sue-young reports on internal NK press coverage as well as a leaflet campaign by ROK-based interest groups.  Sam Kim from Yonhap writes about KJI’s birthday celebrations amid the DPRK’s recent currency redenomination and the Six Party Talks’ interminable hiatus.  Yonhap also reported on Wang Jiarui’s delivery of an early birthday present last week in the form of $10 billion in investment money (primarily for infrastructure improvements in North Pyongan and North Hamgyong) for the newly constituted Taepung Investment Group.

From late last week into the weekend, Kim Jong-il’s birthday was celebrated in typical fashion.  A loyalty meeting was convened at Mt. Paektu, including the reading of “Bright Star” a poem attributed to Kim Il-sung.  The 14th Annual Kimjongilia Festival commenced in Pyongyang,  and an ice sculpture display opened in Samjiyon County.  The KISYL Central Committee’s art squad  gave a concert Friday evening in East Pyongyang, and foreign figure skaters arrived.  On Saturday, 100,000 Pyongyangites shivered in Kim Il-sung Square, and on Sunday a Lunar New Year’s celebration for children was held down the street at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

But amid the celebrations in honor of the current DPRK leader, the gentle reminder of a succeeding regime occurred at the People’s Palace of Culture on Saturday:

Documentary Film Screened
Pyongyang, February 13 (KCNA) — Documentary film “Great Succession” was screened at the People’s Palace of Culture on Saturday on the occasion of the birthday of General Secretary Kim Jong Il.
The film deals with the immortal exploits Kim Jong Il, who is successfully carrying into practice the noble intention of President Kim Il Sung, performed by leading the sacred struggle for the final victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche.

It tells about the facts that he has strengthened the People’s Army into the army of the Party, the invincible revolutionary armed forces.

It also shows the noble personality of Kim Jong Il who has taken care of life and destiny of the revolutionary soldiers in a responsible manner to the end by inheriting the tradition of comradeship created in the days of the hard-fought anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle and provided with his politics of boundless love and trust the unbreakable harmonious whole in which the leader, the Party and the people are united in ideology and will and moral obligation.

Watching the film were senior party and state officials, the chairperson of a friendly party, officials of ministries and national institutions and working people in the city of Pyongyang.


This article was written on 16 Feb 2010, and is filled under Kim Family, Kim Jong-il, Korean People's Army (KPA), Korean Workers' Party (KWP), North Korean press.

An affiliate of 38 North