SEOUL, South Korea— Tens of thousands of people have rallied in North Korea's capital to support the government's policies for the new year, including improved relations with the United States and South Korea.

The crowd braved chilly weather Saturday to pledge loyalty to leader Kim Jong Il as top officials applauded on a balcony overlooking Pyongyang's main square.

Videos broadcast by APTN showed Kim did not attend the rally.

North Korea — which does not tolerate any political opposition — stages the annual rally to bolster public support for the government's New Year policies, announced in the form of a joint editorial in major newspapers. (AP)