SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the mausoleum where the embalmed body of his father Kim Jong-il is kept on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his death, North Korean media reported on Monday.
As is tradition, Kim Jong-un paid a visit to the Kumsusan Sun Palace, where the body of his grandfather and founder of the regime, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, also rests along with Kim Jong-il.
Kim Jong-il ruled North Korea with an iron hand from 1994 until his death in 2011, when his son Jong-un, the third leader of the Kim dynasty, assumed control of the regime.
The current North Korean leader said during his visit that he “made a solemn pledge to fight more unflinchingly” for North Korea to be a country “independent in politics, self-supporting in the economy and self-reliant in defense,” according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA.
Both KCNA and the main national newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a photo of Kim paying tribute and another showing a wreath placed in front of the statues of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung.
However, no photo of the entourage that usually accompanies Kim Jong-un on every visit to Kumsusan Sun Palace was published.
This absence of images comes at a time when the number two of the regime, Hwang Pyong-so, has not made any public appearance in two months, which prompts many to speculate that he has been purged.
Also under the command of Kim Jong-un, another of the regime’s top figures, Choe Ryong-hae, earlier had been missing from the public. It was later reported that he has been sent to “reeducation” before returning to the public eye months later.
However, the purge with greatest impact during the Kim Jong-un era was that of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, executed by the regime in December 2013 for alleged anti-revolutionary activities.