'Eternal leader' Kim Jong-il's body to be enshrined
The country also said it will erect a new Kim Jong Il statue and build 'towers to his immortality,' while the ruling party called him 'eternal leader' and gave his birthday a new title that underlines his military-first policy and links him more closely to his father, Kim Il Sung, who is still revered as the 'eternal president.'
Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service/AP/File
SEOUL, South Korea
North Korea said Thursday it will enshrineÂ KimÂ JongÂ Il's body in the palace housing his father, the national founder, deepening its veneration of theÂ KimÂ dynasty as the country transfers power to a third generation of the family.
The country also said it will erect a newÂ KimÂ JongÂ IlÂ statue and build "towers to his immortality," while the ruling party called him "eternal leader" and gave his birthday a new title that underlines his military-first policy and links him more closely to his father,Â KimÂ IlÂ Sung, who is still revered as the "eternal president."
The North's state media have sought sinceÂ KimÂ JongÂ Il's death on Dec. 17 to show his son,Â KimÂ JongÂ Un, as a strong, confident military leader, but outside observers are watching to see if he can impose his will over the military and government as strongly as his father did during 17 years of absolute rule.
North Korea has quickly handedÂ KimÂ JongÂ Un a slew of his father's prominent titles and repeatedly connected him with his father and grandfather in an effort to add legitimacy to the young leader. North Korea also has stepped up propaganda praisingÂ KimÂ JongÂ Il's works and vowed to uphold his policies in what is seen as an attempt to justify the hereditary power transfer.
On Thursday, the North's state media calledÂ KimÂ JongÂ IlÂ the "eternal leader" â€” reminiscent of his father's title â€” and said his body will be displayed at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where the embalmed body ofÂ KimÂ IlÂ Sung has been lying since 1995, a year after he died.
It was unclear whether their bodies would be in the same room.
The new name forÂ KimÂ JongÂ Il's birthday, "Day of the Shining Star," is another link toÂ KimÂ IlÂ Sung, whose birthday is called the "Day of the Sun."
"Shining Star" also was the name given by North Korea to what it says was a satellite it launched into space in April 2009, but that the United States says was a long-range rocket test. The launch stoked regional tensions and earned North Korea international sanctions and condemnation.
The new measures reflect North Korea's "unanimous desire ... to hold the great leader ComradeÂ KimÂ JongÂ IlÂ in high esteem as the eternal leader of the party and the revolution," the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party's Central Committee said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
On Thursday, North Korea's state television showed photos of a smilingÂ KimÂ JongÂ Un gesturing in a manner similar to his father and wearing a similar parka as he spoke to military officers and inspected construction sites.