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New DPRK leader's speech 'boosts confidence'

By Wu Jiao in Pyongyang and Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

09:38, April 16, 2012

DPRK leader Kim Jong-un reviews a military parade, the largest ever in Pyongyang, on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]

Massive military parade marks birth centennial of DPRK founder

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's leader Kim Jong-un made his first televised speech on Sunday in a gesture that analysts said showcased "the confidence of the new leadership".

He spoke as the country held its largest military parade to mark the centenary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung, Jong-un's grandfather.

A large new missile, what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile according to media reports, was the highlight of the parade.

Dressed in a dark suit, Kim Jong-un appeared confident and calm as he read from notes from a viewing stand overlooking tens of thousands of troops taking part in the massive parade in Pyongyang's main square.

Analysts said the rare public speech by a DPRK leader and the military parade aimed to boost confidence among people in the DPRK and cement the new leadership led by the young Kim.

During the 20-minute speech, he lauded his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and his father, Kim Jong-il, as the "founder and the builder of our revolutionary armed forces".

He also made it clear that the military will continue to have a dominant role in the country, following the "military first" policy, as it had under his father.

Kim, in his late 20s, became leader of the country with a population of 23 million after the death of former leader Kim Jong-il in December.

"I express my greetings to our compatriots ... who dedicate themselves to reunification and prosperity," he told cheering crowds.

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