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Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un celebrate an anniversary


A picture made available by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of the North Korean government, on Oct. 26 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (third from right) and his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un (far right) attending a mass meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of the entry of the Chinese People's Volunteers into the Korean front at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in North Korea on Oct. 25.

United States Marine Corps via AP file

In this photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps, a small detail of U.S. Marines lies in the snow with rifles ready at a curve in a road near Yudan in the Chosin Reservoir area northwest of the port of Hungnam, Korea, Nov. 29, 1950. They are shown at their snowy post as the 1st and 7th Marine regiments were retiring under heavy pressure by three enemy divisions.

Because images of the Kim family are fairly rare, we try to post some here when they are released. The event the Kims celebrated yesterday, the entry into the Korean War of Chinese Communist troops, was a terrifically costly one for the United States, and presaged the epic battle between U.S. Marines and Chinese at the Chosin reservoir depicted in the second picture. According to About.com:

On October 25, 1950, with General Douglas MacArthur's United Nations forces closing in a victorious end to the Korean War, Communist Chinese forces began pouring across the border. Striking the spread out UN troops with overwhelming force, they compelled them to retreat all across the front. In northeastern Korea, the US X Corps, led by Major General Ned Almond, was strung out with its units unable to support each other. Those units near the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir included the 1st Marine Division and elements of the 7th Infantry Division.

For more on yesterday's appearance by the Kims, see this video report from ITN.

If you're interested in a gripping, if somewhat controversial, read on the Chosin Reservoir fight, see Breakout by Korean War veteran Martin Russ. For a higher-altitude view of the conflict, with a particular emphasis on American politics during the war, I highly recommend David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter.