Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Today is the second anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death, and North Koreans marked the occasion by swearing allegiance to his son and their current leader, Kim Jong Un.
An anniversary ceremony was held at Pyongyang stadium and broadcast on state television. Kim Jong Un presided at the ceremony but did not speak.
Ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam rallied North Koreans to "hold comrade Kim Jong Un in high esteem as the unitary center of unity and leadership." The pledge of loyalty comes a week after Kim Jong Un had his uncle, the former second in command, executed for treason.
International Crisis Group senior analyst for Northeast Asia Daniel Pinkston observed that "Kim Jong Un is using those dates for ceremonies as opportunities to have people in the leadership extend pledges of allegiance and loyalty to the regime, to the party and Kim Jong Un as a leader."