North Korea Hails New Leader
North Korea has gone into official mourning for communist leader Kim Jong-il after the 69-year-old died of a massive heart attack on Saturday. It’s been reported in local media that the heart attack was caused by stress and overwork. The now former leader’s body was displayed in a glass coffin and surrounded by red “kimjongilia” flowers at Kumsusan Memorial Palace, which has been the centre of high-level visits and public gatherings.
Kim Jong-un, who is his youngest son and anointed heir, has been hailed a “lighthouse of hope” and the “Great Successor”, indicating that the transition of power will be smooth. Acute concerns were raised in the region when Kim Jong-il’s death was announced on Monday. There were fears of a potential struggle of power between Kim Jong-un and rivals.
The country is known for its secrecy and unpredictability, and there haven’t been any signs of discord or unrest in the capital, Pyongyang. In fact, it’s been reported that the military and people have vowed to uphold the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un, naming him the successor of the nation’s revolutionary philosophy of self reliance.
The young leader entered the hall this week with military honour guards to view his father’s coffin and observe a moment of solemn silence. He then circled his father’s body with other officials following behind. The official mourning period in North Korea will last for 11 days. During this time, flags will be flown at half-staff at every military unit, business, public building, factory and farm. On December 28, a two-day state funeral will begin at Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the mausoleum where Kim Jong-il’s father (national founder Kim Il Sung) has been embalmed and displayed in a glass sarcophagus since 1994.