North Koreans mark Kim Jong-il death anniversary

  • 17 December 2012
  • From the section Asia
Screen grab from North Korean television shows Kim Jong-un and his wife at the memorial palace on 17 December 2012
Image caption Kim Jong-un and his wife were shown paying their respects at the palace

North Korea has held a ceremony to mark a year since the death of Kim Jong-il, days after conducting a controversial rocket launch.

New leader Kim Jong-un and his wife paid their respects at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang which houses the late leader's body.

Still wearing his trademark khaki suit, he lies in a glass coffin a few floors below his father, Kim Il-sung.

Kim Jong-il died on 17 December 2011; his death was announced two days later.

Leadership of the impoverished, isolated state passed to his third son Kim Jong-un.

Under his leadership North Korea has conducted two long-range rocket launches - actions condemned by the US and Pyongyang's neighbours as banned tests of missile technology.

The launch in April failed, but last week's attempt appears to have been a success, placing a satellite into orbit.

The US, Japan and South Korea are seeking a response in the UN Security Council, which banned North Korea from missile tests after nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

'Another victory'

Media captionThe BBC's Lucy Williamson says that Kim Jong-un has shown "a much softer, more emotional style of leadership" than his father Kim Jong-il

North Korea held a mass rally on Friday to mark the rocket's success and another on Sunday to commemorate Kim Jong-il.

On Monday, the country's top leaders gathered at the mausoleum where the embalmed bodies of both Kim Jong-il and his father, national founder Kim Il-sung, lie.

The ceremony, broadcast live on state television, showed a series of officials bowing before statues of the two late leaders.

Scientists who worked on last week's long-range rocket launch also attended, state television said.

The Associated Press reported that wails echoed through the chilly hall as a group of North Korean women sobbed and bowed before his body.

They were part of a select group allowed into the mausoleum for the first time since his death, although photography was not permitted.

On Sunday ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam praised Kim Jong-il's role in the rocket launch at the giant rally in a Pyongyang sports stadium.

"The successful launch of our Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite is also another victory achieved by our military and people, by faithfully following the teachings of the great leader [Kim Jong-il]," he said.

The UN Security Council last week condemned the launch and said it would continue consultations on an appropriate response.