North Korean leader Kim vows to enhance army-first policy

North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un spoke publicly for the first time in Pyongyang Sunday, vowing to enhance his father's "military first" policy during celebrations to mark the centenary of the nation's founder Kim Il-sung.

Aired live through the Korean Central Broadcasting Station on Sunday morning, the 20-minute speech was occasionally applauded by tens of thousands of people gathered in the Kim Il-sung Square in the capital.

"Here lies our 100-year strategy of revolution and a final victory, as we follow the path of autonomy, the path of the military first and the path of socialism that Great Leader Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il had shown us," said the young leader in his late 20s.

"To build a strong socialist and prosperous nation, we should strengthen the People's Army as the first, second and third priorities," he said.

He also said that superiority in military technology was no longer monopolized by "imperialists" and the era was "forever gone" when nuclear arms could be used to threaten the North.

He said he was "heartbroken" that Koreans have suffered from the division of the peninsula for the past 70 years and that his communist state would "cooperate with anyone" who truly wishes for reunification.

Kim wrapped the speech by shouting, "go forward to the final victory," followed by the crowd's answer, "manse," the English equivalent of "long life."

The young Kim's speech was part of the North's massive celebration of the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's birth.

A two-hour spectacular military parade followed the speech. The parade featured rows of infantry, tanks and heavy artillery, followed by a wide array of missiles, according to news reports from Pyongyang.

What appeared to be a new long-range missile was unveiled during the parade, they said.

Also Sunday, Kim visited the Kumsusan Memorial Palace to pay tribute to his late father and grandfather, whose bodies have been embalmed and displayed in glass coffins since their deaths in December 2011 and July 1994, respectively.

The celebrations came just two days after Pyongyang failed in its much-hyped rocket launch. The rocket exploded in mid-air minutes after lift-off.

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