PYONGYANG, North Korea — The first bronze statue of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been unveiled in Pyongyang as part of celebrations marking what would have been his 70th birthday this week.

Top political and military leaders attended the unveiling ceremony Tuesday on the grounds of the Mansudae Art Studio. Kim's son and the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un, did not attend.

The monumental sculpture depicts Kim Jong Il and his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, on horseback.

Officials say it is the first sculpture of Kim Jong Il cast in bronze, like the imposing statue of Kim Il Sung in downtown Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Il died in December, and would have turned 70 on Thursday.