Kim Jong Un Continues To Assume Power, Meets With South Korea
It was also a significant turnaround from South Korea's earlier decision not to send mourners to Kim Jong Il's funeral scheduled for Wednesday. North Korea took the announcement as a sign of disrespect, but reports of Monday's visit indicated things went smoothly.
From The Times:
Ms. Lee and Ms. Hyun laid their wreathes and walked around Kim Jong-il’s glass coffin to show their respect, K.C.N.A said. In a message in the visitors’ log, Ms. Lee wrote that she hoped the two Koreas would achieve an “early reunification” by honoring a 2000 summit agreement in which her husband and Kim Jong-il had promised to encourage political reconciliation and economic exchanges.
Though Kim Jong Un appears to be on a rapid ascent, North Korea has done little to fully introduce its new leader or make facts of his qualifications known. Instead, media and government officials have pushed from blind support.
Again, from The Times' report:
On Monday, the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, urged North Koreans to “defend the party’s Central Committee headed by respected Comrade Kim Jong-un.”
The same slogan was used for his father when he was alive. Over the weekend, the North Korean media were blessing the son with the same honorifics until now reserved for his father: “heaven-sent leader,” “the sun of the 21st century” and eobeoi, the Korean word for parent, which North Korea has used only for Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim Il-sung, the North’s founding president.
Looking to future relations, South Korea seemed hopeful that Monday's visit would suffice to keep things civil, though North Korea articulated Sunday that if a southern delegation did not attend Wednesday's funeral, there could be "unimaginably disastrous consequences."
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