N Koreans urged to defend Kim Jong-Un
Seoul - North Korea urged its people on Sunday to defend new leader Kim Jong-Un to the death and vowed an all-out push for prosperity, in a New Year state newspaper editorial setting out policy goals.
"The whole party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-Un unto death, and follow the great party forever," it said.
Jong-Un, aged in his late 20s, was proclaimed the "great successor" after his father and longtime leader Kim Jong-Il died on December 17.
On Saturday the North announced he had formally been appointed supreme commander of the 1.2-million-strong military, the world's fourth-largest.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose country is the North's main ally and economic prop, sent Jong-Un "warm congratulations" on assuming the military leadership, the North's official news agency said on Sunday.
The North, closing ranks publicly behind its new leader, has warned the world not to expect policy changes and has threatened South Korea for perceived disrespect during the 13-day mourning period for Kim Jong-Il.
Sunday's editorial vowed to "consolidate" the armed forces and called for the United States to pull its 28,500 troops out of the South. But it said Pyongyang will "strive to develop relations of friendship with countries that respect our country's sovereignty".
The editorial, published in the ruling communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun and other papers, stressed the role of the party, which was sidelined by Kim Jong-il in favour of the military.
"To achieve victory in (the) general advance for this year it is necessary to strengthen the party and enhance its leadership role to the maximum," it said.