Rocket still centerpiece as NKoreans mourn Kim

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03:21 PM December 16th, 2012

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December 16th, 2012 03:21 PM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, arrives with other top leaders under a portrait of his late father Kim Jong Il as they attend a national meeting on the eve of the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday. AP

PYONGYANG, North Korea  — North Korea’s top leadership is calling the successful launch of a satellite proof that Kim Jong Un has the strength to lead the country one year after his father’s death.

A solemn Kim Jong Un joined top political, government and military officials Sunday in a national memorial service at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on the eve of the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death.

The Associated Press was among a handful of foreign and local journalists allowed to cover the closed meeting, which marked the start of events marking Kim’s death. Armed soldiers ringed the streets outside.

Kim Jong Il died on Dec. 17, 2011. North Korea sent a long-range rocket into space in his honor Wednesday, defying international warnings that the launch would be considered a banned missile test.

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