North Korean Leader Misses Annual Mausoleum Visit on Father’s BirthdayNorth Korea Criticizes South Korea and U.S. for Increased Aerial Surveillance

SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the traditional visit to the mausoleum of his late father, Kim Jong-il, on what would have been the former leader's 82nd birthday, continuing his absence for the third consecutive year. According to reports from the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday, notable figures such as Premier Kim Tok-hun and Choe Ryong-hae, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, were present at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on the previous day, but there was no mention of Kim Jong-un's participation.

According to Yonhap News Agency, This absence, if confirmed, marks a significant departure from tradition, as visits to the mausoleum, which houses the bodies of both his father and grandfather, are considered a key ceremonial duty on dates celebrated as major holidays in North Korea. The KCNA did highlight that the country observed the former leader's birthday on February 16 with various events, including performances and fireworks, indicating a nationwide celebration.

Additionally, Kim Jong-un reportedly contributed to the festivities by sending stationery and food products to students and children as gifts, commemorating the anniversary. This gesture aligns with the North's tradition of marking significant state anniversaries with public celebrations and acts of generosity towards its younger citizens.

SEOUL - North Korea has leveled accusations against South Korea and the United States for intensifying tensions on the Korean Peninsula through increased aerial reconnaissance operations.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Pyongyang condemns the heightened "spying activities" by Seoul and Washington this month, describing these actions as a "stern provocation."

The North alleges that both nations have attempted to gather intelligence on its internal regions using sophisticated surveillance equipment, including the U.S. RC-135 Combat Sent and RC-135W Rivet Joint, along with South Korea's high-altitude unmanned aircraft Global Hawk and the E-737 Peace Eye early warning aircraft. Pyongyang warns that it is vigilantly monitoring these military maneuvers and asserts its readiness to retaliate against perceived threats at any moment.

These developments come amid a year marked by increased military activities from North Korea, including the launch of cruise missiles from both sea and land platforms, and artillery tests into waters near the western inter-Korean maritime boundary. Pyongyang's latest condemnations add another layer of complexity to the already tense relations on the Korean Peninsula.

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