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Archive for Wednesday, December 28, 2011

North Koreans salute, cry for late leader Kim Jong Il

December 28, 2011, 9:47 a.m. Updated December 28, 2011, 11:10 p.m.

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— Kim Jong Il’s son and successor was declared “supreme leader” of North Korea’s ruling party, military and the people during a memorial today for his father in the first public endorsement of his leadership by the government.

Kim Jong Un, head bowed and somber in a dark overcoat, stood watching from a balcony at the Grand People’s Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square, flanked by the top party and military officials and Kim Jong Il’s younger sister.

Hundreds of thousands packed the square in central Pyongyang, filling the plaza from the Grand People’s Study to the Taedong River for the second day of funeral ceremonies for the late leader.

Kim Jong Il, who led his 24 million people with absolute rule for 17 years, died of a heart attack Dec. 17 at age 69, according to state media. He had taken power following the 1994 death of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

Soon after Kim Jong Il’s death, attention turned to his young son, who was revealed last year as his father’s choice as successor.

Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20s, serves as a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party but has been bestowed with a series of new titles in state media since his father’s death: Great Successor, Supreme Leader and Sagacious Leader.

“Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un is our party and military’s supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong Il’s ideology, character and revolutionary” cause, Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and the ceremonial head of state, told the crowd today. “The fact that he completely resolved the succession matter is great comrade Kim Jong Il’s most noble achievement.”

Kim Jong Un’s leadership is not expected to become formal until top party, parliamentary and government representatives convene to confirm his ascension.

The events have been watched closely for signs to who will take power in the next era of leadership in the country founded by Kim Il Sung in 1948 and led since then by the Kim family.

On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of mourners had lined the streets as Kim Jong Il’s hearse had made its way through the snowy streets in a 2 1/2-hour-long funeral procession.

At the end of the procession, rifles fired 21 times as Kim J ong Un stood flanked by the top party and military officials who are expected to be his inner circle of advisers. Kim then saluted again as goose-stepping soldiers carrying flags and rifles marched by.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 12 months ago

Kim Jong Un, now that he's been made a four-star general and appointed as a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party, only has to make a power grab by becoming THE chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Part to become a dictator.

Then, he has a chance to suddenly prove himself to be Korea's First Rate Statesman by having very private talks with the leaders of South Korea, and discuss what can be possibly be done to totally defuse all tensions between the two parts of a divided Korea, and then eventually reunite Korea under one single democratic government that does not include himself.

But if history is any judge, he's not going to do it.

riverdrifter 2 years, 12 months ago

I just caught a fleeting glimpse of the funeral procession and correct me if I'm wrong: weren't those ~1986 Caddy funeral vehicles they were using? Man, those '82-86 Caddillac boat hearses command a good price. Kim Jong Dong IL went out in style.

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