Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited Kim Jong Il’s casket bier (i.e. attended the wake) on Tuesday, 20 December, along with his aunt, Kim Kyong Hui (Kim Kyo’ng-hu’i), her husband Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek) and other members of the DPRK’s central leadership. KJI lies in state in a room at Ku’msusan Memorial Palace “to receive visitors between 20 and 27 December.” KCNA reports:
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.
The Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the mourning place, was in a solemn atmosphere.
The bier of Kim Jong Il was seen lying among flowers, covered by the red flag.
Marked on the front of the bier were the years of “1942-2011” as well as the national emblem of the DPRK.
Seen before the bier were shoulder straps of the DPRK Marshal, Kim Il Sung Order, Kim Il Sung Prize, medals of the DPRK hero and labor hero and lots of other orders and medals the army and people of the DPRK presented to him in recognition of his great feats.
Seen beside the bier was a wreath from Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK.
Members of the National Funeral Committee were standing guard by the side of the bier and guards of honor of the three services of the Korean People’s Army and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards were standing on either side of the bier.
Amid the solemn playing of funeral music, Kim Jong Un entered the hall where Kim Jong Il lies in state.
Kim Jong Un observed a moment’s silence in the bitterest grief together with leading officials of the party, state and armed forces organs before going round the bier.
The participants remained long before the bier, wailing over the sudden and grievous death of Kim Jong Il, outstanding leader of the party, state and army, peerlessly illustrious commander of Songun and benevolent father of the people.
They included Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Ri Yong Mu, O Kuk Ryol, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Pak To Chun, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Ju Kyu Chang, U Tong Chuk and Kim Chang Sop.
In Beijing Chinese President Hu Jintao, along with members of the PRC’s political leadership made a condolence call to the DPRK Embassy. Kyodo News Agency reports that President Hu will attend the 28 December state funeral for KJI, citing the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy. In a brief story, the center cited “a well-informed” source that said Hu would travel to Pyongyang.
Xinhua English reports on Hu’s embassy visit.
China expects to make joint efforts with the comrades of the DPRK to effectively consolidate, construct and develop the traditionally friendly relations with the DPRK, Hu said.
Hu said the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people experienced deep grief over comrade Kim Jong Il’s death. He said comrade Kim Jong Il was a great party and state leader for the DPRK, as well as an intimate friend of the Chinese people. Kim dedicated his entire life and rendered his immortal service to the DPRK’s socialist revolution and construction. He also made important contributions to advancing the development of the China-DPRK traditional friendly relationship of cooperation. The Chinese people will remember him forever, he said.
Hu expressed the belief that the people of the DPRK will definitely carry on at the behest of comrade Kim Jong Il, closely unite around the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK), turn their grief into strength under the leadership of comrade Kim Jong Un, and make unremitting efforts for the construction of a strong socialist country and the realization of sustainable peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Wu Bangguo, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and top legislator, Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Vice President Xi Jinping, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, accompanied Hu to the DPRK Embassy in Beijing.
President Hu and other senior leaders stepped close to the portrait of comrade Kim Jong Il, presented wreaths and silently grieved over the death of Kim Jong Il. Afterwards, they bowed to the portrait three times.
Pak Myong Ho, charge d’affaires of the DPRK Embassy, thanked President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders for coming to mourn the death of the DPRK’s top leader.
Pak said comrade Kim Jong Il had made great efforts and contributions to the development of the friendship between China and the DPRK. Kim’s sudden passing is the greatest loss of the DPRK party and revolution, and it is the greatest grief of the people and nation of the DPRK.
Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, the people of the DPRK will turn grief into strength and courage, overcome current difficulties and strive to advance the socialist cause of the DPRK, Pak said.
Pak said the DPRK will work with the Chinese side to further strengthen friendship and expand the traditional China-DPRK friendly relationship of cooperation, he said
The CPC Central Committee, the NPC Standing Committee, the State Council, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and the Central Military Commission also sent wreaths to the embassy.
Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee member and Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong, Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee member and Director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee Ling Jihua, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the International Department of the CPC Central Committee head Wang Jiarui and Director of the President’s Office Chen Shiju also accompanied President Hu to express their condolences at the embassy.
Xinhua English also reported on condolence messages sent by Russia, the Phillipines, Cambodia and Indonesia. First, Russia:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed condolences on the death of Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Kremlin press service reported Monday.
Medvedev also held a phone conversation with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak concerning Kim’s death, according to the report. The two leaders discussed several issues of common concern, including regional integration and stability, the report said.
Also Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Kim’s passing would not affect relations between Russia and the DPRK.
“The DPRK is our neighbor. We maintain a good-neighborly relationship. Of course, we hope that the loss of Kim Jong Il will not have any impact on the development of our friendly relations with the DPRK,” Lavrov said.
“We express the hope that the DPRK government will facilitate a smooth transition to a new leadership,” the statement said.
“The Philippine government values its relations with the DPRK and will continue to cooperate with them to intensify the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia- Pacific region, including in the Korean Peninsula, to ensure the region’s continued prosperity,” it said.
“The Philippines looks forward to a continued engagement with the DPRK, and is thankful for their continued support in improving Philippine-DPRK relations, including the protection and promotion of the rights and well-being of Filipino nationals,” the statement said.
“Cambodia is very sorry for the death of Kim Jong Il,” said Kanharith, who is also the Minister of Information. “This is a great loss for the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
“We hope that the unification plan between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea will still continue peacefully for the interests of the Korean peninsula, regionanl and global peace,” he told reporters at the Ministry.
Koy Kuong, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “Despite the death of Kim Jong Il, the good relations and cooperation between Cambodia and the DPRK are unchanged.”
“On behalf of the government and people of Indonesia, the President of the Republic of Indonesia expresses his deepest condolences on the passing away of the Supreme Leader of the DPRK His Excellency Kim Jong Il,” said the statement.
It said that Indonesia offers its prayer to the bereaved family as well as the government and people of the DPRK, so that they have the strength and forbearance in overcoming this moment of loss.
“The government and people of Indonesia have no doubt that North Korea will be able to overcome this difficult period and to make further progress in accordance with the aspiration of the North Korean people and nation,” it said.
The statement also said that Indonesia has every confidence that the DPRK will continue its commitment to contribute to the maintenance of peace, security and prosperity in the Korean Peninsula and the Pacific region in general.
Former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who knew KJI, released a condolence message. Kyodo reports:
”For me, His Excellency Kim Jong Il was a figure of a leader who had a strong character in his political belief and heavily fought for maintaining the sovereignty of his country,” Megawati said in a condolence statement.
”Under his leadership, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could face heavy challenges and even could stand on their own feet in the economic sector thank to the unity between the people and their leader,” she added.
According to her, as Kim’s friend, she felt ”a very huge loss.” ”Our relations as brother and sister had been lasting very long,” she said.
Megawati and Kim were friends dating back to their first encounter in 1964 when she accompanied her father, then Indonesia President Sukarno, on a visit to Pyongyang.
Indonesia has been trying to facilitate peace on the Korean Peninsula since Megawati’s administration.
In 2002, she visited North Korea — the first Indonesian president to visit the country since her father’s trip in 1964.
And even after she stepped down in 2004, she used her relationship with Kim to try to persuade him to return to the negotiating table.
Qatar News Agency reports that its Emir sent a message to Kim Jong Un:
HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has sent a cable of condolences to North Korean President Kim Jong-un on the death of president Kim Jong-il.
HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has also sent a cable of condolences to the North Korean President on the death of the late president.
AFP reports that Iran has sent condolence messages:
“I was much saddened when I was informed of the passing of Mr Kim Jong-Il, great leader of the friendly nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea,” read Larijani’s message to his North Korean counterpart, Choe Tae-Bok.
“On behalf of myself and my colleagues in parliament… I would like to express my sympathy to your government and nation and offer my condolences to you and his family,” the message said.
Both North Korea and Iran are subject to international sanctions over their nuclear activities, and the two countries’ governments share a deep hostility towards the United States.
Pyongyang is also suspected of transferring banned ballistic missile technology to Tehran.
A confidential UN report, parts of which AFP gained access to in May this year, asserted that missile-related items were flown from North Korea to Iran on regular commercial flights by the countries’ respective flagship airlines.
KCNA reported a condolence message sent by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. This was DPRK media’s first reference to a condolence message directly addressed to Kim Jong Un from a foreign leader. Interestingly while KJI recuperated from his August 2008 stroke (s), the first message he sent to a foreign government was to Russia.
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.
The second condolence message directly addressed to Kim Jong Un from a foreign leader came from Cuba’s Raul Castro. KCNA reports:
The message said: Dear Comrade, I, on behalf of the Communist Party, government and people of Cuba, express most profound condolences to you over the demise of the great leader of the Korean people Comrade Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK.
Please accept my best regards.
Cambodia sent condolence messages. Despite having close ties to the Kim Family, however, 89-year old Great Prince Norodom Sihanouk will not attend the funeral because of his age and frail health. His assistant, Prince Sisowath Thomico, told a Cambodia newspaper, “Even though lately His Majesty Samdech Father did not go to North Korea his relations with North Korea remain warm.” KCNA reports:
The Cambodian government expressed condolences over the demise of leader Kim Jong Il on Monday.
A spokesman for the Cambodian government said they are saddened by the news that Kim Jong Il passed away, adding this is the greatest loss to the Korean people.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia said that even though Kim Jong Il passed away, the relations of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and the DPRK will remain unchanged.
Jordan’s King Abdullah sent a condolence message to Kim Jong Un, according to The Jordan Times:
His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday sent a cable to North Korean leader Kim Jong- un offering his deepest sympathies over the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.
In the cable, the King also extended his condolences to the North Korean people.
The political leadership of Vietnam sent a condolence message to the Korean Workers’ Party. Vietnam News Agency reports:
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam has sent a message of condolences to the Central Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Workers ‘ Party over the death of its General Secretary, Kim Jong-il.
DPRK’s top leader died of heart failure on Dec. 17 at the age of 69.
On the same day, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi expressed deep sympathy over the death of the top leader of the DPRK.
“We offer the deepest condolences to the Party, State and people of the DPRK over the death of Kim Jong-il, General Secretary of the DPRK Workers’ Party, Chairman of the National Defence Commission and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the DPRK People’s Army,” Nghi told reporters.
“We believe that the DPRK people will overcome this great loss to continue their national construction and development,” he said.
BERNAMA, Malaysia state press, reported on a message from its foreign ministry:
Malaysia today conveyed its condolences to the government and people of North Korea on the death of its leader Kim Jong-il.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, when contacted, also expressed the hope that the new leadership of the country would continue to work towards peace in the region.