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Kim Jong Un idolization focus of North Korea's Youth Day

North Korea said young people must follow the tradition of martyrs in protecting the current leader with their lives.

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un idolization focus of North Korea's Youth Day
Pyongyang’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Friday that North Korea celebrated National Youth Day, held every year on Aug. 28. Photo by Rodong Sinmun/Yonhap

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- North Korea promulgated the leadership of Kim Jong Un on its annual National Youth Day on Friday, urging young North Koreans to devote loyalty to Kim and to lean into the construction of a "civilized socialist nation."

Pyongyang's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun claimed, "The Great Leader Kim Il Sung cultivated the nation's youth to realize a strong spiritual awakening [so that they become] the Party's trustworthy successors," South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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The statement comes a month after the Rodong denounced the spread of South Korea "propaganda" and accused Seoul and other anti-socialist nations of "pouring funds" into the country, targeting North Korea youth.

Pyongyang again denounced the "imperialist reactionaries" who are "trying to corrupt our youth with negative elements and greed."

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North Korea said in statement, "Our youth must instead raise the Supreme Leader [Kim Jong Un] to the center of a single-minded unity, and with steely determination march to Mount Baekdu," a reference to a sacred mountain associated with anti-colonial struggle.

The Rodong article said young North Koreans must follow the tradition of martyrs in protecting the leader with their lives and urged youth to become "passionate revolutionaries."

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Pyongyang also said young North Koreans must be at the forefront of the construction of a "civilized socialist nation" and to lead the building of North Korea into an "athletic powerhouse."

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South Korean outlet Newsis reported North Korea held the U-15 soccer games between Aug. 21 and 24 and that even as tensions escalated between Seoul and Pyongyang, South Korea was allowed to play in the tournament alongside China, Uzbekistan, Croatia and Brazil.

South Korean soccer coach Kim Myeong-seon told Newsis that North Koreans he met were "very passionate" about athletics.

"The entire country is immersed in sports fever," Kim said.

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