NORTH KOREA is marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday in a decidedly low-key manner.
Though the young leader’s birthday is well-known throughout the country, it has yet to be celebrated with the kind of adulatory festivities that accompany the birthdays of his late grandfather and father.
Pyongyang residents did what they do every second Sunday of the new year — joined in sports events.
Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be 33 or 34 and the world’s youngest head of state, assumed power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.
The only time Kim has been honored in public on his birthday was in 2014, when former NBA star Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to him before an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang.
Last October, state-run media said the nation would hold massive celebrations for the leader’s birthday this year.
However, the reported date set (Jan 8) for the celebration is shown as a normal Sunday and not a national holiday.
The NHK quoted a North Korean official as saying there had yet to be any word of wide-scale celebrations for the day.
In his New Year address, Kim said had felt anxious and remorseful over his inability to do enough for the North Korean people.
“Seeing that another year has started, my heart grows heavy with thoughts on how I may serve our people – the best in the world who trust and supports me with their solidarity – better and higher this year,” he said, as quoted by NK News.
“I have spent the whole year with regrets and a guilty conscience, to see my ability failing to reach what I have planned for the people. This year, I have made up my mind to spur on to greater efforts and to devote all of myself to the people.”
Observers say Kim wants to present himself as a merciful leader, although the country’s upper echelons were likely to boost his authority this year.
According to the NHK, the country will mark the 75th birthday of Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il. The leader is also expected to mark his 5th year since taking power in April this year, while the 105th anniversary of his late grandfather, Kim Il Sung is tipped to be celebrated on the same month.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press