North Korea media lauds son, nation grieves Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il
Pyongyang, Dec 20: Streams of mourners, some wailing and some grim-faced, placed flowers at monuments around the North Korean capital today in memory of longtime ruler Kim Jong Il, while state media hailed Kim's son and heir-apparent as a man "born of heaven" suggesting the transition to a new leadership was firmly on track.

With an 11-day mourning period in effect for Kim, who died Saturday, flags flew at half staff and shops were closed to allow North Koreans to pay their last respects to the "Dear Leader," as he was called. "Today, as well as yesterday, the Korean people have been coming here to Mansu Hill in deep sorrow at the loss of the benevolent father of our nation with the infinite feeling of longing," said Ri Ho Il, a lecturer at the Korean Revolutionary History Museum.

"Our General (Kim Jong Il) is our people's benevolent father. He defended our people's happiness, carrying on his forced march both night and day." Kim died of a massive heart attack brought about by overwork and stress, according to the North's media. 

He was 69. The state funeral is to be held on December 28. Kim's death and the possibility of a power struggle in a country armed with nuclear weapons and known for its unpredictability has heightened tensions in the region.

North Korean state media have given clear indications that Kim's third son will succeed him. The Korean Central News Agency today described Kim Jong Un as a "a great person born of heaven," a propaganda term only his father Kim Jong Il and his grandfather Kim Il Sung had enjoyed.

The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an editorial that Kim Jong Un is "the spiritual pillar and the lighthouse of hope" for the military and the people. 


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