China's state television shows footage of Kim Jong Il's state funeral December 29, 2011. North Korea marked the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death Friday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 17 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a memorial service honoring his later father, Kim Jong Il, on Friday, 10 years after the former leader's death.
The ceremony was held at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the official residence of the country's heads of state until the death of Kim Jong Il's father, Kim Il Sung, in 1994. The building now serves as a mausoleum for the two men, who both lie in state there.
Kim Jong Il died Dec. 17, 2011, at age 69, ushering in his son Kim Jong Un as the new leader of the reclusive regime. To mark the 10-year anniversary of his death, the country has been holding a series of events to honor the late leader and promote loyalty to his son, The Korea Times reported.
The Korean Central News Agency, a North Korean state-run media outlet, reported that Wang Chen, vice chairman of the standing committee of China's congress, attended the ceremony, conveying "best wishes" to Kim Jong Un.
North Korea's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, ran a front-page editorial Friday calling for "absolute trust" in Kim Jong Un's regime. It highlighted a five-year development plan unveiled in January.
"All people and soldiers should have absolute trust in the general secretary, have their fate and future completely entrusted to him and guard his safety and authority," according to a translation by The Korea Herald.
Unnamed sources told Radio Free Asia that the North Korean government is forcing all residents to observe an 11-day period of mourning to mark Kim Jong Il's death. Residents are normally required to mark the anniversary of his death for 10 days.
During this time, residents are only allowed to behave solemnly in public and may not shop for groceries.
"During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities," one source told RFA.
"In the past, many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals. They were taken away and never seen again.
"Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it's over. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period."