PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korea marked the 64th birthday of leader Kim Jong Il yesterday with nationwide celebrations reasserting the strength of his regime and its ability to resist the United States.
Mass synchronized dances featuring women in brightly colored traditional Korean dresses were staged in the capital's main square, state TV showed yesterday.
''Comrade Kim Jong Il is a symbol of eternal victory of our-style socialism," the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said yesterday in a lengthy editorial carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
''Today, US maneuvers to isolate and strangulate us are reaching an extreme point," the editorial said, warning that the North would crush what it called the United States' hostile maneuvers with unspecified stronger measures.
Kim's birthday traditionally is treated as one of the most important national holidays, with citizens treated to propaganda spectacles, gifts, and extra food.
Yesterday's broadcasts were filled with programs glorifying Kim and the official story claiming he was born on Mount Paektu, the highest peak on the peninsula and a place holding mystical significance for all Koreans. Outside experts believe Kim was born in Russia.
The day's celebrations included mass dancing by young people at various squares in Pyongyang, with the largest performance at the Kim Il Sung square, named for the North's founding ruler and the current leader's father.