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North Korea Unveils Kim Statues on Day of Rocket Failure

Common Dreams staff

North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-Un led a mass rally Friday for his late father and grandfather following the country's failed rocket launch.

The defiant launch drew condemnation from world leaders who described it as a "provocative" act that threatened regional security, despite Pyongyang insisting it was intended to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.

Jong-Un appeared for a ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people crowding a central area in Pyongyang to unveil giant new statues of the late president Kim Il-Sung and his son and longtime ruler Kim Jong-Il.

The televised ceremony coincided with the announcement that Jong-Un was elected "first chairman" of the powerful National Defense Commission, apparently a new title.

His late father was named "eternal" chairman of the commission, the country's top decision-making body, at an annual session of the North's rubber-stamp parliament, state media said.

The new titles complete the transfer of state, military and party power from Kim Jong-Il to his son.

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