Thou­sands pa­rade in front of leader

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Af­ter leader Kim Jong Un en­shrined his hold on power and com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons at the rul­ing party con­gress, thou­sands of North Kore­ans cel­e­brated with a mas­sive civil­ian pa­rade fea­tur­ing floats bear­ing pa­tri­otic slo­gans and marchers with flags. Ruler Kim presided over the pa­rade and waved to the crowd.

“We had been prac­tis­ing ev­ery other day for this event,” said Yun Song Hua, a 35-year-old med­i­cal stu­dent at Kim Il Sung Uni­ver­sity. “I’m proud to be able to par­tic­i­pate in an event like this with our leader here with us.”

The two-hour pa­rade started off with a 30-minute speech by Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea’s par­lia­ment and nom­i­nal head of state.

For­eign jour­nal­ists in Pyongyang for the con­gress had to gather hours ear­lier, at 5.30am, to go through strict se­cu­rity screen­ing. They had to sur­ren­der all tele­phones and com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices, which is typ­i­cal when­ever Kim Jong Un is at an event with me­dia al­lowed to see.

By call­ing the four-day con­gress - some­thing his fa­ther, Kim Jong Il, never did - Kim demon­strated what may be a lead­er­ship style more like that of his charis­matic grand­fa­ther, na­tional founder Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung worked through party or­gans more than Kim Jong Il, who pre­ferred us­ing his own net­work of trusted in­di­vid­u­als to get things done.

Vic­tor Cha, an ex­pert on North Korea at the Cen­tre for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies who served as a top White House of­fi­cial on Asia pol­icy un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush, said that a pri­mary goal for the con­gress was to anoint Kim Jong Un as leader “for the next 50 years” by nam­ing him as party chair­man.

“They are do­ing every­thing to make him look like this grand­fa­ther in ev­ery way pos­si­ble with the glasses and the hair­cut. I think they are try­ing to sym­bol­ise that when his grand­fa­ther was leader, those were bet­ter days for North Korea,” Cha said. “It's like they are try­ing to equate North Korea’s fu­ture with the past.”

PA­TRI­OTIC: North Kore­ans dur­ing the pa­rade in front of leader Kim Jong Un

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