November 26, 2020

NKorea holds rally, shows young Kim meeting troops

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Pumping their fists and chanting, tens of thousands of North Koreans packed the snowy main square of the capital Tuesday to pledge their loyalty to new leader Kim Jong Un as the campaign to consolidate his power deepened.

State television also aired footage of Kim’s recent visit to an elite tank unit with family and historical ties that showed him interacting with ease with soldiers and carrying out inspections much like his father and grandfather did before him. Soldiers cheered and chanted his name as Kim made an inaugural solo trip to provide “on-the-spot guidance” in the first official documentary of the new leader shown on North Korean TV.

The succession campaign to install the third-generation Kim as leader has hastened since Kim Jong Il died more than two weeks ago. He led the country for 17 years after the death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

North Korea’s neighbors and the United States are keeping close watch on the younger Kim’s rise amid uncertainty about how the country will manage a change of leadership during a time of sensitive negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program. Pyongyang and Washington had been engaged in discussions about offering food aid in exchange for nuclear disarmament when Kim died on Dec. 17.

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