N. Korea at 50 reaches for stars

PYONGYANG: (South News) -- North Korea celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday in an exquisitely choreographed mass rally and fireworks display paying tribute to Juche, or self-reliance, and the satellite that it recently launched in honor of  the nation's founder, the late Kim Il Sung .

The parade's participants marched with a precision that reflected one of the most dedicated, disciplined, and devoted societies on earth despite a famine of the past few years where hundreds of thousands are reported to have died. Li Min, wife of Chen Lei, a veteran of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, said the paraders moved as one, showing the might of the singleheartedly united Korean people. No force on earth can match their strength, she added.

"Congratulations on Kwangmyong Song 1 (Bright Star)," read some of the placards welcoming the satellite circling the earth every two hours and 45 minutes in a high, elliptical orbit as thousands of bystanders waved red pom-poms.

According to sources the satellite launched by Korean scientists and technicians is also transmitting immortal revolutionary songs of General Kim Il-Sung'  and a morse code ID 'Juche Korea'.

As columns of Red Guards marched toward the square, Washington and Tokyo were still disputing the DPRK's announcement of a scientific satellite launch despite the Russians giving details of the satellite's position (and an identity number) on Sept. 6.

Yet a former ambassador of the Swiss Foreign Ministry said he had never seen such a wonderful military parade as Korea's though he had seen many military parades in other countries. The Korean people are a great people with the might of unity and indomitable will, he pointed out

Japan now in the grip of a serious capitalist recession with skyrocketing unemployment and the U.S, still formally at war with peoples Korea, reacted to the satellite launch with violent propaganda attacks on the DPRK. These attacks charged Pyongyang with launching a test missile over Japanese territory. Tokyo canceled food aid and flights to the DPRK. Washington  refused to sign a peace treaty coming out of the (1950-53) Korean War.

According to Academician, Prof. and Dr. Kwon Tong Hwa, deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly, who was involved in the launch said the DPRK has developed a multi-stage rocket capable of carrying a satellite  in the 1980s and made remarkable successes in researches into satellites as well.

When he was alive, the President Kim Il Sung said that it was high time for the DPRK to launch an artificial satellite. All preparations for the launch had been completed  at the beginning of the 1990s but since 1994, a series of floods and coastal tidal waves have destroyed much of the country's agricultural production and caused severe food shortages put the launch on the back burner.

Kim Il Sung's son, Kim Jong Il, chose the 50th anniversary of the founding to let the "world know about the might of the local industry and science and technology of satellites the DPRK has independently developed without boasting of it".

A towering white statue of Kim Il Sung, was led along the parade route into the Square of Reunification.Big balloons floating above the crowd touted such slogans as "the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-sung will always be with us" and "highest glory to the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung," the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

An honor guard fired a 21-gun salute of amid the playing of "the immortal revolutionary hymn, song of General Kim Il Sung," who led the anti-Japan guerrilla war and liberated half of the Korean peninsula fifty years ago.

From a balcony above the festivities Kim Jong Il, somberly watched the pageantry. Kim did not speak at his nation's momentous occasion. But the presence of his late father, who on Saturday was named the nation's "eternal president," was everywhere. "Let us bring Kim Il Sung on the Square of Reunification," read a banner hung on the float that carried the giant replica of the paramount leader.

Kim Jong Il was re-elected head of the National Defense Commission on Saturday.  The Supreme Peoples' Assembly named the position "the highest post in the state to organize and lead the work of defending the state system ... and increasing the defense capabilities of the country and the state power as a whole through command over all the political, military and economic forces."

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