Mt Paektu is the native home of Chairman Kim Jong Il (1942-2011).
Regarded as the ancestral peak of the Korean people and the hallowed summit of the Korean revolution, it proudly holds the distinction of being the loftiest mountain in Korea. Since time immemorial, its rugged terrain and harsh weather rendered it uninhabited. The emergence of the “first residents” unfolded in the late 1930s within the primeval forests, a period coinciding with Korea’s occupation by Japan (1905-1945).
During the intense anti-Japanese armed struggle led by Kim Il Sung on the vast Manchurian plain, the leadership base shifted to Mount Paektu. Secret camps and the headquarters of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army were established in the Sobaeksu Valley.
Nestled in this unnamed location, surrounded by towering mountains and thick woodlands, the Sobaek Stream winding through, a modest log cabin with a roe-hoof door handle, smaller than its counterparts, was erected.
It was within this unassuming log cabin that Chairman Kim Jong Il, who left an enduring mark on the world’s political history, was born on February 16, 1942.
As the offspring of guerrillas, Kim Jong Il’s life embarked on an extraordinary trajectory from the outset. His formative years were steeped in the aroma of gunpowder, subsisting on military provisions, and resonating with the cadence of battle.
The initial figure reflected in his eyes was his mother in military attire, and amidst guerrillas, he matured. His playground, from the outset, was Mount Paektu.
Recalling his unconventional birth and upbringing with profound sentiment, President Kim Il Sung expressed, “That Kim Jong Il is a son of Mount Paektu means that he was born of the anti-Japanese revolution as a son of the nation. He is a son of Korea who started his life and rose as a lodestar of our revolution in the embrace of the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters.”
In the era of constructing a new democratic society, amidst prevailing backwardness, poverty, and colonial vestiges post-liberation on August 15, 1945, during the Korean War (1950-1953), and amid the reconstruction efforts post-war under President Kim Il Sung’s guidance, Kim Jong Il nurtured a grand aspiration to guide Korea towards a radiant future by inheriting Kim Il Sung’s cause. The poem “O, Korea, I Will Add Glory to Thee,” penned upon entering Kim Il Sung University in the early 1960s, encapsulates the magnitude of his ambition.
The period spanning over half a century, commencing from June 1964 when he joined the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea after university, witnessed the realization of his ambitions.
He elevated the Juche idea, formulated by Kim Il Sung, as the guiding ideology for the Korean people and the epoch of independence, permeating it through all facets of the nation, forging a united and resolute socialist state. Initiating a golden age in arts and literature, globally termed the “Renaissance in the 20th Century,” he oversaw the construction of numerous architectural marvels that astonished the world.
In the waning years of the last century, the DPRK confronted unprecedented economic hardships due to severe economic sanctions, blockades by imperialist forces leveraging the collapse of socialist nations, and consecutive natural disasters.
During this challenging period, Chairman Kim Jong Il stood unwaveringly alongside the people and soldiers. Through his on-site guidance tours, he bolstered their spirits, sharing both joys and sorrows.
Thanks to his original Songun politics, the DPRK emerged as a military powerhouse, armed not only with cutting-edge offensive and defensive capabilities but also an indomitable deterrent against formidable adversaries. It defended its unique form of socialism, creating a steadfast foundation for constructing a potent socialist nation by reversing the tide.
His pursuit of independence, peace, and friendship in external affairs found validation and vitality in practice.
Diplomatic relations flourished between the DPRK and numerous countries, transcending ideological and social differences. The DPRK, by expanding and nurturing economic and cultural exchanges with various nations and fortifying solidarity with progressive peoples aspiring for independence and justice, played a crucial role in promoting the global trend towards independence, peace, and friendship.