Mt. Paektu, 2 750 m, is the highest mountain in Korea.
Known as the ancestral mountain of the Korean nation and the sacred mountain of the Korean revolution, it is closely associated with the career of Kim Jong Il (1942-2011), eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK.
Paektu Shining Star
Kim Jong Il was born on February 16, 1942, in Mt. Paektu, the base of the armed struggle the Korean people waged to liberate Korea from Japanese military occupation. The anti-Japanese guerrillas, reflecting their earnest wish that he would become the lodestar adding glory to Korea in support of the cause of the respected General Kim Il Sung, the Sun of the nation, wrote on barked trees such slogans as “O Korea and fellow countrymen, Paektu Shining Star was born” and “Long live the Paektu Shining Star that rose over the three thousand-ri land of Korea.”
In 1960 when he entered Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, he wrote a song, titled, “O Korea, I Will Add Glory to Thee,” with a firm determination to be the master of Korea and lead it to a bright future, upholding President Kim Il Sung’s intention.
True to his faith and will, Kim Jong Il developed the Juche idea and the Songun idea created by the President, into the guiding ideologies of the country and the times and thoroughly implemented them, thus building the DPRK into an invincible socialist power.
Led by President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il, the DPRK was called “the country with shining sun and star.”
In the closing years of the last century the DPRK had to suffer worst-ever trials owing to the collapse of socialism in many countries and the imperialist allied forces’ intensive anti-socialist offensives against it. When it was faced with the sudden demise of President Kim Il Sung, there were rumours of possible changes in the DPRK’s policy-making going around in the international community.
At that time Kim Jong Il firmly declared, “Do not expect any change from me!” He said: I am a son of guerrillas. Whatever big obstacles may be in the course of our advance, we should fight fearlessly, inheriting the spirit of Korean revolutionaries who make headway against difficulties. Then he administered at full throttle Songun politics based on the Songun idea authored by Kim Il Sung.
Under his Songun-based leadership the DPRK emerged victorious in the grim war of defending socialism, thwarting every challenge of the imperialists by dint of powerful military capabilities. His wise leadership ushered in a new era of building a prosperous socialist nation, turning adversity into prosperity and misfortune into blessing.
In August 1998 Kwangmyongsong 1, the first artificial earth satellite of the DPRK, was shot into space, followed by Kwangmyongsong 2 in 2009 and Kwangmyongsong 3-2 in 2012.
Korean satellites which are all named Kwangmyongsong (Shining Star), the byname of Kim Jong Il, show that the Korean leader promoted the country to the status as high as space and exalted its dignity all across the world.
Thunder over Jong Il Peak
There is a mysteriously shaped peak on top of Mt. Paektu. It is Jong Il Peak, named after Chairman Kim Jong Il. It is said that when he was born a bright morning star rose high in the sky, the ice on Lake Chon broke away, and thunder cracked solemnly.
The thunder over Jong Il Peak which seemed to make the birth of a great person known to the whole world later became the symbol of Kim Jong Il’s great personality.
In early 1993 dark clouds of war began to gather over the Korean peninsula.
In its attempt to stifle the DPRK, taking advantage of the collapse of several socialist countries, the United States instigated the International Atomic Energy Agency to adopt a “resolution” on “special inspection” of military sites in the DPRK on the pretext of suspicions of the latter’s nuclear development. It also announced that the Team Spirit joint military exercise, which had been suspended temporarily, would be resumed and mobilized 200 000-strong aggressive troops and state-of-the-art military hardware including strategic bombers and nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, driving the situation to the brink of war.
The world was very apprehensive of the fate of the DPRK. At that time resolute declarations like roaring thunder over Jong Il Peak were made in the DPRK; the order of the KPA Supreme Commander was issued on declaring a state of semi-war, and the DPRK government made public a statement on its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
The Western society was shocked and noted that even though all nuclear bombs on this planet set off they would be less powerful than the DPRK statements. The United States, terrified, was compelled to suspend the joint military exercise and abandon a “special inspection.”
In March 2000 Chairman Kim Jong Il climbed Mt. Paektu and made an important resolution related with the country’s reunification.
Subsequently, a summit meeting of the leaders of the north and south of Korea was held in June in Pyongyang and the June 15 Joint Declaration was adopted.
The adoption of the north-south joint declaration brought about amazing results unprecedented in the history of Korea since its division.
Dialogues and negotiations in the fields of politics, the economy, culture and the military were held between the north and the south, which had been in hostile confrontation with each other for over half a century, producing good fruition of reconciliation and unity, cooperation and exchange. Joint sports meetings and artistic performances, materials exhibitions and seminars of historians, photo shows were held in Pyongyang and Seoul. When the sports teams from the north and south of Korea made a joint entry in the Sydney Olympic Games in September 2000, holding high the flag bearing the map of one Korea, the international community gave them a big hand. Land, air and sea routes that had been cut off for more than 50 years were reopened, and members of the separated families and relatives met.
People call the new era of history that gave birth to these miraculous events June 15 reunification era which dawned with the thunder over Jong Il Peak.
The august name and career of Chairman Kim Jong Il will shine forever with sacred Mt. Paektu.