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Kim Jong-il memorial ceremony

Updated: 2013-12-17 (KST)
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We begin with the memorial ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Following the execution of the uncle of current leader Kim Jong-un, the focus was on the seating arrangements at today's ceremony, which analysts are parsing for clues about the country's new power structure
For more, we now connect live with our Han Da-eun standing by at Arirang News Center.
Da-eun Fill us in.

Good afternoon Conn-young.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency broadcast the ceremony live starting at 11 a.m. for about an hour and we could see who was seated where in the front row with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Let's bring in a chart.
As many had expected, military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae was seated right next to Kim, signaling that Choe is now the second most powerful man in North Korea, taking the place of Kim's uncle Jang Song-thaek, who was executed last week.
Speculation was rife that Jang had lost in a power struggle with Choe right before he was thrown from power.
Next to Choe, were Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army Ri Yong-gil and Minister of the People's Armed Forces Jang Jong-nam.
To Kim Jong-un's right, was Kim Yong-nam, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, who got the ceremony started with a keynote speech.
Prime Minister Park Bong-ju was seated next to him, while Commander of the Military Security Command Kim Won-hong, who is known to have led the purging of Jang Song-thaek, was also present.
One interesting fact is that some of Jang Song-thaek's close aides were present at the ceremony.
But Kim Kyung-hui, Jang's wife and the daughter of the state founder Kim Il-sung, were absent.

Da-eun, what about Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju?
Much attention was focused on her after Jang's removal, following rumors involving the two.

She was absent during the ceremony, but she appeared with Kim Jong-un this afternoon at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
No pictures have been released yet, but the KCNA reported on the couple's visit to the palace, where the bodies of state founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il lie in state.
So, Conn-young, it looks like Ri Sol-ju is also well, despite a series of negative rumors surrounding her.
This was her first public appearance since October.

And Da-eun before you go, there are some worrisome remarks coming out of the Defense Ministry.
Tell us a bit more about that.

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, during a meeting with the nation's military commanders this morning said there's a high chance of a North Korean provocation, possibly sometime between late January to early March next year.
He ordered the South Korean military to stay on full alert and ordered the military to be ready to strike back immediately, should there be any attacks from the North.
The minister explained that at an unstable time like this, members of the North Korean military who are eager to show off their loyalty to their leader are prone to make miscalculations.
And in a separate development, Saenuri Party lawmaker Cho Won-jin said in a special parliamentary meeting that the North is showing signs that it could attempt another long-range missile launch and a fourth nuclear test, as it is expanding its nuclear test site and upgrading its missile launch facility.
Back to you.

Thank you, Da-eun. Keep us posted throughout the day.

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