Thousands of North Korean soldiers pledge loyalty to Kim Jong-Un as Seoul goes on alert

Monday, December 16, 2013
By Paul Martin
Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 16, 2013

Tens of thousands of North Korean troops pledged their loyalty to leader Kim Jong-Un Monday as Seoul put its forces on alert for “reckless provocations” after its communist rival staged a political purge.

The mass rally in Pyongyang came ahead of Tuesday’s second anniversary of the death of longtime leader Kim Jong-Il, whose sudden demise thrust his young son to the helm of the secretive state.

Kim has been making efforts to demonstrate his firm grip on power following the shock execution Thursday of his uncle Jang Song-Thaek, prompting both Seoul and Washington to warn that vigilance is needed against any surprises by the nuclear-armed regime.

Photos from state media showed tens of thousands of troops carrying red flags marching in a large square in front of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the spiritual heart of the regime which houses the embalmed bodies of Kim Jong-Il and his father Kim Il-Sung.

Some soldiers held flags bearing portraits of founding father Kim Il-Sung while others carried a giant banner urging all troops to hold his grandson Kim Jong-Un in “high esteem as the party centre”.

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