North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

United Front Chiefs’ Wreath Laying at Truce Village Monument

United Front Department Director Kim Yang Gon and other senior managers of the DPRK’s relations with the South held an annual 30 minute wreath laying ceremony on the North’s side of the truce village to honor the 16th anniversary of the death of the late President, Kim Il Sung, who passed away from a massive heart attack at his chalet near Hyangsan County, North Pyongan Province on 7 July 1994.  The memorial ceremony has been held near a Reunification-themed statue bearing KIS’ autograph since the statue was constructed in 1995.

Sam Kim reports in Yonhap:

A group of high-ranking North Korean officials huddled Thursday in front of a monument on their side of the truce village straddling the tense border with South Korea, paying tribute to the communist state’s late founder, Kim Il-sung, an official here said.

The visitors included Kim Yang-gon, the North’s point man on the South, and Won Tong-yon, a ranking member of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles inter-Korean affairs, a Unification Ministry official in Seoul said, asking not to be named.

“It was confirmed that they laid a wreath and paid homage to President Kim Il-sung for about 30 minutes” in the morning at the monument where his handwriting is inscribed, the official said.

Kim, whose son, Jong-il, is now ruling the communist state, died 16 years ago on this day, and his last handwritten signature was etched into the monument, erected at Panmunjom in 1995.

North Korea has held a ceremony in front of the monument every year since Kim died in 1994. The monument contains a message deploring the division and calling for reunification.

North Korea marks the anniversary of the death of the late founder with a variety of events, including lectures, movies on his activities and visits to memorials honoring him.

An affiliate of 38 North