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N. Korean soldiers hold memorial rally for late leader Kim

Published on Dec 16, 2013 5:02 PM
North Korean People's Army soldiers take part in a rally to swear allegiance to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of the second death anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, on Dec 16, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/KCNA

SEOUL (AFP) - Thousands of North Korean soldiers held a memorial rally on Monday for the late father of leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported, days after the stunning execution of the leader's uncle.

Pictures released by the North's official news agency showed soldiers standing in a square outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which houses the embalmed bodies of Kim Il Sung, the country's founder, and of his son Kim Jong Il who died on Dec 17 two years ago.

Kim Jong Un took power after his father's death, in the country's second dynastic succession.

Soldiers assembled outside the Pyongyang landmark reaffirmed loyalty to the young leader, according to the caption of one picture.

Another photo showed a march by soldiers carrying red flags, watched by military leaders. It was not clear whether Jong Un was among them.

North Korea stunned the world last week by announcing the execution of Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of the young Kim and the man once seen as his political regent.

His execution on Thursday for corruption and plotting to overthrow the state - just days after he was ousted from all his party and military positions - marks the biggest political upheaval since Jong-Un inherited power.

The Kim dynasty has ruled the isolated country for more than six decades with an iron fist and a pervasive personality cult.