North Korea held a huge rally Friday in the center of its capital, Pyongyang, to celebrate the launch of a long-range rocket this week that put a satellite in orbit and provoked international condemnation.
International communitty condemned the rocket launch as a covert test of long-range ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions .The launch appeared to have bolstered leader Kim Jong Un's image as a leader , but it could bring further sanctions from the United Nations or individual countries that will make it even harder for Pyongyang to improve its economy.
The service followed a mass rally two days earlier that also lauded the launch of the three-stage rocket, a move which was condemned by the UN Security Council and seen by many countries as a disguised ballistic missile test.
Kim Jong-Il, who ruled the communist state for nearly two decades, died of heart attack on December 17 in 2011.His youngest son, Jong-Un, immediately took over in the third-generation power transfer of the Kim dynasty which ruled the isolated country for more than six decades with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.
Jong-Un, stone-faced and clad in black Mao suit, was seen today sitting at the stage along with dozens of other top officials against a giant red flag in the background featuring a large portrait of smiling Kim Jong-Il.
"The heart of the great leader stopped beating but the comrade Kim Jong-Il lives with us forever...to give blessing for the bright future of our people," the ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam said in a speech.
"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 impoverished but nuclear-armed North staged the widely-condemned rocket in an apparent bid to mark the anniversary and to drum up more support for the young and inexperienced leader Jong-Un.The North said the apparently successful launch -- its
second after its much-heralded but botched mission in April -- was a scientific project to put its weather satellite into the orbit.
But the United States and allies South Korea and Japan view it as a disguised long-range missile test banned under UN resolutions triggered by its past nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.