For the first time in North Korea, state television showed live pictures of leader Kim Jong-il with his son and presumed heir, Kim Jong-un (photo, from aljazeera.net).
The leader was accompanied by his youngest son to a huge military parade in the capital in order to mark the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party.
Kim Jong-un is thought to be in line to succeed to his father as leader of the highly secretive state.
Last month he was suddenly promoted to senior leadership roles.
Dressed in a dark blue civilian suit, Kim Jong-un sat next to his father on a viewing platform at Kim Il-sung Plaza, watching tanks with rocket-propelled grenades and long-range missiles rolled by.
The missiles carried the slogan of the Korean People’s Army: “Defeat the US military. US soldiers are the Korean People’s Army’s enemy.”
Thousands of troops goose-stepped around the plaza, which was decorated with banners and flags. Ordinary citizens were waving plastic bouquets.
According to officials, the anniversary celebrations will be the biggest of their kind in the nation’s history.
Father and son had appeared at a festival in the capital on Saturday, where members of the international media were also invited in order to witness the event.
The massive crowd at the Arirang gymnastics and dance festival rose to their feet and burst into applause when a spotlight shone on the two men.
The Swiss-educated Kim Jong-un was made a four-star general and given senior positions in the government and the Workers’ Party, at a rare party conference last month.
According to analysts this means he is in line to succeed his father, who took over the leadership of North Korea in 1997 after his father, Kim Il-sung, died. But, the title of President has been assigned “eternally” to Kim Il-sung.
We know little about Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be about 27 years old.
He would take the Kim dynasty rule over the nation of 24 million into the third generation.
“The future of our country is rosy and bright because Kim Jong-un was elected vice chairman of the military commission of the Workers’ Party,” said a government official.
“We have a proverb in Korean that great teachers produce great students and great parents produce great children,” the official added.
Thought to be in poor health, 68 years old Kim Jong-il is also widely believed to have suffered a stroke two years ago.
Dressed in his customary khaki tunic suit, the North Korean leader stood for over an hour during the parade and waved to the crowds, however he limped noticeably and reached to the balcony for support.
Locked in a dispute with the West over its nuclear weapons programme, North Korea is struggling to revive its crumbling economy.