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PYONGYANG, February 16, 10:26 /ITAR-TASS/. People in North Korea are broadly marking the Shining Star Day, a national holiday commemorating the birth of Kim Jong Il, who would have turned 72 February 16.
Kim Jong Il’s son and the incumbent leader of the country, Kim Jong Un, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where his father’s body lies in state in a glass sarcophagus. Kim Jonh Il, who is typically referred to in North Korea as ‘the great leader’, died of a heart attack December 17, 2011.
Exhibited in the halls of the palace is a black Mercedes-Benz car, a yacht named Chonson (Fidelity), and a coach from a train that Kim Jong Il used during numerous inspection trips across the country.
The visitors can also see Kim Jong Il’s numerous state awards, including the four orders in the name of Kim Il Sung, as well as 39 orders and 150 medals bestowed on him by foreign countries.
One of the main achievements Kim Jong Il is said to have scored over the seventeen years of his rule is the Seongun policy that gives the Korean People’s Army - i.e. the Armed Forces of the DPRK - a priority role in all affairs of the state. The ‘great leader’ who was given North Korea’s highest military title of generalissimo, conducted a policy that “made it possible to turn the republic into a powerful military state.”
In connection with the holiday Kim Jong Un who is the country’s Chief Commander, signed an order on promoting a group of military people to higher ranks. One of them has been promoted to the rank of a Colonel General. Another either senior officers got the title of Lieutenant-General and 29 more persons have become Major-Generals.
Kim Jong Un voiced the hope that newly promoted military would live up to the trust, which the people and the Korean Workers Party had vested in them, and that they would stay committed to the course at a final victory of the Juche revolutionary teaching.
Various festive functions involving the ethnic Koreas from Russia, the U.S., Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand are held Sunday.
Many visitors come to a pavilion where an annual exhibition devoted to Kim Jong Il’s personal flower, the kimjongilia. Movie festivals and photo shows are held everywhere in connection with the holiday.
A festival of figure skating timed for the date has started in the Ice Palace in Pyongyang. The athletes participating in it have come from Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Italy, and Latvia, but the Korean analysts single out the Russians who are presenting remarkable composition and demonstrating perfect technical merits.
Simultaneously, Pyongyang is hosting competitions in synchronized swimming. By tradition, masses of North Koreans come to a small wooden house on Mount Paekto where, according to local historiography, Kim Jong Il was born when a guerilla camp was located there at the height of the Koreans’ struggle against Japanese occupation.