April 19, 2010 09:12
North Korea spent more than US$5.4 million on fireworks displays along the banks of the Taedong River in Pyongyang on Wednesday to celebrate former leader Kim Il-sung's 98th birthday the following day.
A North Korean source on Friday said the North had imported about 60 tons of fireworks from China for the display and invited foreign engineers for technical assistance. "They must have spent more than W6 billion for the fireworks and their display, transportation, and labor," the source said
The regime temporarily cut power and banned driving in an area near the Juche Tower for the fireworks spectacular to maximize the effect. The North's state-run Korean Central Television broadcast the fireworks for an hour from 9 p.m. on Thursday, and reran it the following morning.
"It seems that the North threw away a huge amount of dollars to breathe new life into the gloomy atmosphere that that has beset society since the botched currency reform," a South Korean security official said.
At the fireworks ceremony, Kim Ki-nam, a close aide to Kim senior and a secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party's Central Committee, said, "We put on the fireworks display full of hope today because we have held matchless great men in high esteem generation after generation." Some interpret this as a hint at the succession from leader Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un.
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