North Korea marks anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death

Tuesday 18 December 2012 11.59
The service was held in a mausoleum that contains the bodies of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il Sung
The service was held in a mausoleum that contains the bodies of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il Sung

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife were among the mourners paying homage today at a national memorial service for Mr Kim's father, former leader Kim Jong-il, who died a year ago.

The service was held in a mausoleum that also houses the embalmed body of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current ruler.

In the footage, Mr Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was wearing traditional Korean black mourning clothes and appeared to be pregnant.

It was not possible to verify that she was pregnant and there was no official announcement by North Korean media.

The couple, accompanied by top officials of the secretive state, bowed deeply in front of 5m high statues of the late Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim Il Sung.

Accompanying them were Mr Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, believed to be the country’s effective second-in-command, and his aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, at a ceremony to inaugurate the renovated Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a giant mausoleum dedicated to the two deceased members of the Kim clan.

North Korea successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite last week, sparking international condemnation from states that believe it is trying to develop a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could hit the United States.

Choe Ryong-hae, the North Korean military's top political strategist, described the rocket launch in a commemoration speech as "having paraded the great Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-il and Korea proudly in front of the whole world".

Mr Choe and Mr Jang are believed to be the top power-brokers around 29-year-old Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-il, the country's late "Dear Leader" died of what North Korean media said was a heart attack from overwork on 17 December last year.