On August 11, 1994, about a month after President Kim Il Sung passed away, a banquet was arranged at the Mokran House in honour of Son Won Thae, a Korean compatriot who lived in the US.
The news came as a surprise to all who were still grieving over the greatest loss to the nation.
The following is how the banquet was arranged.
Three years previously, the President invited Son Won Thae to the homeland. Regretting that he had not entertained him on his birthdays, the President promised that as Son’s elder brother, he would host a banquet on his 80th birthday.
As the event was drawing near, he prepared a Korean jewel painting Cranes in a Pine Grove as a birthday present.
Upon learning the sad news of the President’s death, Son rushed to Pyongyang. When he came to pay tribute to the late President, General Kim Jong Il, who was standing guard over his bier, greeted him.
Grasping the old mourner’s hands, he said:
“Mr. Son, I thank you for coming a long way from an alien land.
“The President said that he would give a large dinner on your 80th birthday, but he passed away, I am sorry to say.
“I want you to visit here again and again, thinking that here is your own home. I will always remember the President’s close friends.”
Some days later, Kim Jong Il summoned some officials concerned and told them that a banquet should be arranged in honour of Son as intended by the President.
On the early morning of the birthday he had a floral basket, a large basket of fruits and his other presents conveyed to Son and his wife, as well as his congratulations for the occasion. In the evening they received the President’s present and were invited to the banquet at the Mokran House.
Also present there were senior government officials, Son’s children and friends, and overseas compatriots.
The old man said tearfully at the banquet, “The President is alive as his intentions are upheld and his warm affection is still felt. I have not believed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I have no doubt that the President is immortal. General Kim Jong Il is one and the same as President Kim Il Sung.”