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Celebration in North Korean capital marks 100 years since founder's birth

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 15, 2012 -- Updated 0715 GMT (1515 HKT)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) applauds with top military leaders during an official ceremony at a stadium in Pyongyang on April 14, 2012.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) applauds with top military leaders during an official ceremony at a stadium in Pyongyang on April 14, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Kim Jong Un touts the importance of the revolution begun by his grandfather
  • NEW: He stresses the military's significance and vows citizens won't starve again
  • He spoke during a celebration in Pyongyang celebrating Kim Jong Un's birth 100 years earlier

Pyongyang, North Korea (CNN) -- North Korea's leader spoke before hundreds of North Korean troops and others in Pyongyang on Sunday as part of a massive, orchestrated celebration marking 100 years since the birth of the nation's founder, Kim Il Sung.

Deemed the Eternal President, Kim was born on August 15, 1912. Some 33 years later, following North Korea's liberation from Japan, he pledged in Pyongyang to build a nation on wealth, strength and knowledge.

His grandson, Kim Jong Un, is now North Korea's "supreme commander" -- a title he has recently assumed, following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

Elaborate and extensive 100th anniversary celebrations of Kim Il Sung's birth have been in the works for years.

One of those milestones was the Friday launch of a long-range rocket -- a move deplored by the United States and many others in the international community, even after it prematurely broke apart and failed to escape the Earth's atmosphere.

On Sunday, state TV showed video of large blocks of North Korean troops as they marched in tight formation. Music was interspersed at times by coordinated chants, while military officials could be seen saluting from vehicles that drove past tanks lined up in the square.

Kim Jong Un himself addressed the crowd -- his first televised speech since becoming the North Korean leader -- offering remarks that regularly stirred applause from onlookers.

He touched on a number of issues, including touting the significance of North Korea's military and vowing never to let the country's citizens go hungry again.

Much of Kim's roughly 20-minute talk focused on the importance of the revolution spearheaded by his grandfather, saying that it was the North Korean government's responsibility to work to realize the movement's aspirations and live up to its values.

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