Pyongyang, Jan 8: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's birthday celebration today was low-key keeping in view his father's death, but the state-controlled television aired a documentary showing him riding a tank, Daily Telegraph reported.
South Korean intelligence experts believe the younger Kim, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, as “Supreme Commander” just before Christmas, was born on January 8.
The date was pinpointed using testimonies from Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese chef who worked for the Kim family, North Korean defectors and Kim's childhood friends at the Liebefeld School in Bern, Switzerland, where he briefly studied as a teenager.
However there were few signs of celebration in Pyongyang.
North Korea used to treat the birthdays of Kim's father and grandfather as national holidays, throwing extravagant festivals and handing out presents to the public.
But there were no special events to mark the youngest Kim's birthday, which was also not marked in public calendars, which would have been printed before his elevation.
At the Kaesong Industrial park, a complex on the border between North and South Korea where some 48,000 North Koreans work, a normal weekend shift took place.
Yang Moo-jin, an expert at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told the Korea Times newspaper that the date might not have been celebrated because “Kim's grip on power is not firm yet”. He added, however, that North Korea may still be in mourning for Kim Jong-il, making a celebration inappropriate.
However, the new leader was praised in a documentary on North Korean television on Sunday as “the genius among the geniuses” in military strategy. The programme showed him driving a tank and giving orders to artillery, naval and air force troops.
Other images showed him observing fighter jets and firing exercises, as well as posing for photographs with soldiers.
It added that he wrote his first thesis on military strategy at the age of 16 and was the “spitting image” of his father and grandfather.
“The respected comrade Kim Jong-Un is perfectly versed in all military strategies and displays excellent military leadership,” said the film, over images of soldiers jumping in joy at seeing Kim on field trips.
The film also said the younger Kim had been present in April 2009 when the North staged an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.