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Military personnel crying during the Kim Jong Il's funeral
The memorial follows Kim Jong Il's funeral on WednedayImage: AP

North Korea mourns

December 29, 2011

The late Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un was hailed as North Korea's new "supreme leader" Thursday as the funeral for the dead dictator went into a second day, with tens of thousands of people still gathered in Pyongyang.


Tens of thousands of people filled Pyongyang's central square on Thursday for the second day of funeral ceremonies for the North Korea's deceased leader Kim Jong Il.

Addressing vast crowds North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam hailed the late leader's young son Kim Jong Un the new "supreme leader" and military chief in the first public government endorsement of his leadership.

"Respected comrade Kim Jong Un is the supreme leader of our party and the military who inherited Kim Jong Il's spirit, leadership, personality, morality and fortitude," said the official number two leader in North Korea.

A hearse driven during a funeral procession of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Un played a prominent role during the funeral serviceImage: AP

Echoing Kim Yong Nam, official state media described Kim Jong Un as "supreme leader of the party, state and army." Kim Jong Un's leadership will not be formally verified however, until top party, parliamentary and government representatives come together to confirm his ascension.

Wearing a black overcoat with his head bowed, Kim Jong Un stood on a balcony overlooking Kim Il Sung Square as top party and military officials remembered his late father.

Kim Yong Nam praised the late Kim Jong Il for contributing to "global peace and stability of the 21st century."

"The great heart of comrade Kim Jong Il has ceased to beat... such an unexpected and early departure from us is the biggest and the most unimaginable loss to our party and the revolution," he said.

Three minutes' silence

As the ceremony came to an end three minutes of silence were observed nationwide, after which trains and ships throughout the country sounded their horns.

The memorial followed a funeral service on Wednesday attended by thousands of weeping citizens and the North Korean military. State television pictures showed a motorcade headed by a black limousine carrying the body, and another with a huge portrait of the leader, drive slowly through the capital.

The second memorial day ends 13 days of mourning in the wake of Kim Jong Il's death on December 17. He was reported to have died from a heart attack aged 69.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AFP, Reuters, AP)
Editor: Ben Knight

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