Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DPRK News Update: Millions Mourn Leader Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Un Mourns over Demise of Kim Jong Il (Flash)

For more information on the mourning of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Il just log on to the official Korean Central News Agency website below:

Pyongyang, December 20 (KCNA) -- A solemn ceremony took place in Pyongyang Tuesday to mourn before the bier of Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army at a time when the whole country is in the bitter sorrow at the unexpected sad news of his demise.

Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, together with senior officials of the party, state and armed forces organs, visited the bier of Kim Jong Il to express deep condolences with the bitterest grief.

Message of Condolences from China

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- The Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the WPK Central Military Commission, the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK and the DPRK Cabinet received a message from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, the State Council and the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China on Monday expressing condolences over the demise of leader Kim Jong Il.

The message said:

Upon hearing the shocking news that Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, passed away to our sorrow, we express with bitterest grief most profound condolences and sincerest sympathy to all the Korean people.

Kim Jong Il was the great leader of the WPK and the DPRK. He devoted energy all his life to the great cause of the Korean people for building Korean-style thriving socialist nation and performed immortal historic feats.

Kim Jong Il was a close friend of the Chinese people. It was with great enthusiasm that he carried forward and developed the traditional Sino-DPRK friendship provided and cultivated by the revolutionaries of the elder generation of the two countries, forged close relations with the Chinese leaders and dynamically promoted the steady development of the relations of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between China and the DPRK.

The Chinese party, government and people profoundly grieve over the demise of Kim Jong Il and the Chinese people will always miss him.

Though he passed away all of a sudden, he will live in the hearts of the Korean people forever.

We are convinced that the Korean people will overcome sorrow and display strength under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, united close around the WPK, true to the behests of Kim Jong Il, and make uninterrupted advances to build a thriving socialist nation and achieve lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

China and the DPRK are linked with each other with a mountain and rivers and are sharing weal and woe. It is the consistent policy of the Chinese party and government to steadily consolidate and develop the traditional Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.

We are convinced that the friendship between the two parties, countries and peoples of China and the DPRK will surely continue to grow stronger thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides.

The Chinese people will as always stand by the side of the Korean people.

Kim Jong Il is immortal.

Message of Condolences to Kim Jong Un from Russian President

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- President of the Russian Federation D. Medvedev Monday sent a message of condolences to General Kim Jong Un.

It said:

Respected Your Excellency Kim Jong Un

Allow me to express my deep condolences to you and the leadership of the DPRK and its people over the demise of Kim Jong Il, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission.

In Russia His Excellency Kim Jong Il is well known as the leader of a friendly state who did a lot for the strengthening and development of the traditional Russia-DPRK good neighborly relations.

I am sure that this line in the interests of our two countries and peoples will be inherited by the new leadership of the DPRK.

We are ready to closely cooperate with each other for further development of mutual cooperation and peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Please accept my high consideration.

NKorea media laud son, nation grieves Kim Jong Il

By RAFAEL WOBER, Associated Press

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea prepared to lay longtime ruler Kim Jong Il to rest while the hermit state's official media on Tuesday lauded his son and heir apparent as a person "born of heaven" — suggesting the transition to a new leadership was under way.

The streets of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, were quiet Tuesday morning as thousands grieved the death of their "Dear Leader." With an 11-day mourning period in effect, flags flew at half staff, shops were closed and streams of mourners — some wailing — placed flowers at memorials around the city.

"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 Saturday of a massive heart attack brought about by overwork and stress, according to the North's media. He was 69 — though some experts question the official accounts of his birth date and location. The state funeral is to be held on Dec. 28.

North Korean officials say they will not invite foreign delegations and will allow no entertainment during the mourning period.

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.

President Barack Obama agreed by phone with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to closely monitor developments. Japan's government also said it was being vigilant for any "unexpected developments."

North Korean state media have given clear indications that Kim's third son will succeed him.

The Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday 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, added in an editorial that Kim Jong Un is "the spiritual pillar and the lighthouse of hope" for the military and the people.

It described the twentysomething Kim as "born of Mount Paektu," one of Korea's most cherished sites and Kim Jong Il's official birthplace. On Monday, the North said in a dispatch that the people and the military "have pledged to uphold the leadership of comrade Kim Jong Un" and called him a "great successor" of the country's revolutionary philosophy of juche, or self reliance.

Whether the transition would be a smooth one remained an open question, however.

South Korea's military has been put on high alert, and experts warned that the next few days could be a crucial turning point for the North, which though impoverished by economic mismanagement and repeated famine, has a relatively well-supported, 1.2 million-strong armed forces.

"The situation could become extremely volatile. What the North Korean military does in the next 24-48 hours will be decisive," said Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has made several high-profile visits to North Korea.

Kim was in power for 17 years after the death of his father, the charismatic founder of the North Korean nation.

His death could set back efforts by the United States and others to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. It also comes at a sensitive time for North Korea, which is preparing for next year's 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

Concerns are high that Kim Jong Un — being young and largely untested — may feel he needs to prove himself by precipitating a crisis or displaying his swagger on the international stage.

North Korea conducted at least one short-range missile test Monday, a South Korean official said. But South Korea's military sees the firing as part of a scheduled routine drill, instead of a provocation, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a policy that bans commenting on intelligence matters.

Some analysts, however, said Kim's death was unlikely to plunge the country into chaos because it already was preparing for a transition. Kim Jong Il indicated a year ago that Kim Jong Un would be his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.

South Korea's president urged his people to remain calm while his Cabinet and the Parliament convened emergency meetings Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry said the South Korean military and the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea had bolstered reconnaissance and were sharing intelligence on North Korea.

The White House said in a statement that it is closely monitoring reports of Kim's death. The Obama administration may postpone decisions on re-engaging the North in nuclear talks and providing it with food aid, U.S. officials said.

The administration had been expected to decide on both issues this week, possibly as early as Monday, but the officials said Kim's death would likely delay the process.

Associated Press writers Jean H. Lee in Beijing, Foster Klug, Hyung-jin Kim, Sam Kim, Eric Talmadge and Jiyoung Won in Seoul and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this story.

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