Kim Jong-Un weeps next to father's body

2011-12-21 12:42

Seoul - North Korea said on Wednesday that millions of grief-stricken people had turned out to mourn "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il, whose death has left the world scrambling for information about his young successor.

The North's propaganda machine has cranked into action to secure the legacy of the late dictator and build up the same personality cult for his youngest son Kim Jong-Un, who is set to inherit the world's last communist dynasty.

Television footage broadcast on Wednesday showed tears streaming down Jong-Un's red face as he stood before his father's body.

It lies in state in a glass coffin at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace, surrounded by red Kimjongilia flowers named after the late leader.

The new ruler, clad in a black Mao suit, shook hands with distraught visitors in dark attire or military uniforms, occasionally bowing to them. A young woman in a funeral suit stood behind him crying.

‘A veritable sea of mourners’

Elsewhere in the city mourners were shown weeping before pictures of Kim Jong-Il, who presided over a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands of his people.

"These places turned into a veritable sea of mourners who bitterly wept, looking up to portraits of smiling Kim Jong-Il," the North's official news agency reported.

It said at least five million people had visited statues and portraits around the capital Pyongyang to pay respects to the late leader. The figure represents more than a fifth of the entire North Korean population.

Kim Jong-Un's televised appearance provided a rare glimpse of the man poised to take the helm of the nuclear-armed nation while still in his late 20s.

Watching transition wearily

Yonhap news agency quoted a senior Seoul government source as saying Kim Jong-Un issued his first military order just before his father's death, commanding all units to halt field exercises and return to base.

"This is clear-cut evidence that Kim Jong-Un has secured a firm grip on the military," the official was quoted as saying.

North Korea's neighbours and the United States, which is treaty-bound to defend South Korea and Japan, are watching the transition warily.

Victor Cha, who was a top adviser on Korea to former US president George W Bush, said virtually nothing was known about Kim Jong-Un and any US effort to reach out to him came with the risk of undermining him.

"It's like a fishbowl. We're all kind of looking in and we're trying to figure out how things are happening," he said.

World powers appear to have been in the dark for two days until a tearful television presenter announced on Monday that Kim Jong-Il had suffered a fatal heart attack aged 69 while travelling on one of his field tours.

‘Rise up and fight’


The senior Kim had reportedly been grooming his youngest son for the succession since suffering a stroke in August 2008. In September last year Jong-Un was appointed a four-star general and given senior party posts.

South Korea, still technically at war with the North, announced it would allow private groups to send condolence messages across the border in another conciliatory gesture to its neighbour.

The move came a day after officials scrapped a plan to display Christmas lights near their shared border - a proposal that had infuriated Pyongyang - and sent its sympathies to the North Korean people.

Seoul had resumed the lights display last December, ending a suspension of several years, after a shelling attack by the North on a border island killed four South Koreans the previous month.

South Korea also accuses its neighbour of torpedoing a warship in March 2010 with the loss of 46 lives.

Defectors who fled Kim's harsh rule for South Korea launched 200 000 leaflets across the tense border on Wednesday, denouncing the late leader and calling for an Arab Spring-style uprising in the North.

"Rise up, people. Fight bravely like the Africans to end the third-generation succession," the leaflets read.

The head of a South Korean church that helps refugees from the North said that recent signs of a military build-up along the communist state's border with China suggested fears of an exodus.

"I personally think there is a possibility of a mass defection," Pastor Kim Seung-Eun, of the Caleb Mission, told journalists in Seoul.

Read more on:    kim jong-il  |  kim jong-un  |  north korea  |  south korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.