Kim Jong-un tears up during rare apology to North Korean citizens at military parade: Reports

Kim spent almost one-third of his speech thanking his supporters and saying that he was sorry for not being able to alleviate the troubles faced by the people.

FP Staff October 12, 2020 22:53:43 IST
Kim Jong-un tears up during rare apology to North Korean citizens at military parade: Reports

In this image made from video broadcasted by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s ruling party in Pyongyang Saturday. AP

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un appeared to well up at an event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the ruling Worker's Party on Saturday as he offered a rare apology for failing to improve the lives of citizens due to the unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus , as per several media reports.

During his address, Kim took off his spectacles and wiped away tears, acknowledging that he had failed to live up to the trust reposed in him by North Korean citizens, The Guardian reported.

According to a Korea Times report, Kim spent almost a third of his speech thanking his supporters and saying that he was sorry for not being able to alleviate the troubles faced by the people.

"Our people have placed trust, as high as the sky and as deep as the sea, in me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily. I am really sorry for that," Kim said.

He also invoked his father and grandfather and said: "Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country upholding the cause of the great Comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their lives."

Apart from the coronavirus crisis, North Korea has also been grappling with the after-effects of the recent typhoons as well as international sanctions.

According to news agency AFP, Kim in his speech avoided any direct mention of the US or its president Donald Trump, who recently contracted the viral infection, but offered "heartfelt consolation" to all those who were fighting the disease around the world.

"Availing myself of this opportunity, I offer my heartfelt consolation to all those around the world who are still combating the disease caused by the malignant virus, and do hope from the bottom of my heart that health, happiness and laughter of all people would be guaranteed," The Korea Times report quoted Kim as saying.

The leader also thanked the military and reiterated his claims of the country being coronavirus free, which have been questioned by outside commentators, as per AP.

North Korea had closed its borders in January to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the country. The city of Kaesong near the border with South Korea had placed under total lockdown for three weeks after a person was found with suspected COVID-19 symptoms in July. However, the reports of the person were later found to be "inconclusive".

Extending an olive branch to rival South Korea, Kim also expressed hope that the countries could mend ties after the threat of the pandemic passed.

The North had suspended virtually all cooperation with the South after talks with the United States were stalled. Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been deadlocked since the collapse of the Hanoi summit early last year.

However, the display of North Korea's nuclear strength at the parade stoked concerns in South Korea. As per an AP report, South Korea’s defense ministry on Sunday issued a statement demanding that North Korea abide by 2018 inter-Korean deals aimed at lowering tensions. It also said it was expressing concerns about the fact that “North Korea unveiled weapons including what was suspected to be a new long-range ballistic missile.”

During the huge military parade, where almost none of the participants or audience were seen sporting masks, North Korea showcased its latest missile, which was larger than any of North Korea’s known intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICMBs).

Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country. But he warned that  “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilise the strongest offensive might in a preemptive manner to punish them".

With inputs from agencies

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