North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI Funeral Program Begins

Jang Song Taek (L) and Kim Jong Un (R) walk beside the hearse carrying Kim Jong Il's casket to a funeral ceremony in Pyongyang on 28 December 2011 (Photo: KCNA)

A hearse carrying Kim Jong Il's casket arrives for a funeral ceremony at Ku'msusan Memorial Hall in Pyongyang on 28 December 2011. (Photo: KCNA)

The two-day funeral service for Kim Jong Il began with a cortege which ran through the streets of Pyongyang on the afternoon of 28 December.  A motorcade of German automobiles and military vehicles followed the hearse which ferried KJI’s casket through the streets in the center of the capital city.  After winding its way through Pyongyang’s streets, the hearse returned to Ku’msusan Memorial Hall (Memorial Palace).  Accompanying the hearse and casket to the funeral service were Kim Jong Un, Jang Song Taek, Kim Ki Nam and Choe Tae Bok on one side and on the other were VMar Ri Yong Ho, VMar Kim Yong Chun, Gen. Kim Jong Gak and Gen. U Tong Chuk.

The procession through Pyongyang was most likely delayed by a heavy snowstorm.  Yonhap reports:

The ceremony had been widely expected to begin at 10 a.m., the same start time as the funeral for Kim’s father and national founder Kim Il-sung in 1994. But the ceremony began at 2 p.m. with the funeral motorcade departing from the plaza of Kumsusan Memorial Palace toward downtown Pyongyang.

South Korea’s state weather agency said snow started to fall in the North’s capital at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday and continued while tens of thousands of bareheaded people lined the streets to bid farewell to the late Kim, who died on Dec. 17.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said that “snow fell over streets nonstop as if the sky had shared sadness with the Korean people who grieve over the loss of the sun of the nation.”

Sources said Pyongyang citizens are believed to have been mobilized for snow-clearing work ahead of the funeral.

Footage on North Korean state TV showed soldiers in uniform taking off their hats in homage to the late leader as the hearse carrying Kim’s body passed by in the whirling snow.

The KCNA said the country is “inundated with people sweeping away snow before bidding their last farewell to the leader.”

“It seems the sky knows well of how much he got snowed on during his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the happiness of the people,” the KCNA said. “The feathery snowfall reminds the Korean people of the snowy day when the leader was born in the secret camp of Mount Baekdu and of the great revolutionary career that he followed through snowdrifts.”


KCNA reports on the funeral cortege and the first day’s ceremony:

The dear respected Kim Jong Un together with senior officials of the party, state and armed forces organs observed silence before the bier of Kim Jong Il, praying for his immortality, and went round the bier before the departure of a funeral procession.

Then a ceremony of paying last respects to Kim Jong Il was solemnly held in the plaza of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK and supreme leader of the WPK, state and army, took part in the ceremony.

Among the participants were senior officials of the party, state and armed forces organs 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, Kim Chang Sop and other members of the National Funeral Committee, staff members of the Supreme Command of the KPA, commanding officers of the large combined units of the KPA, officials of the party and power bodies, social organizations, ministries, national institutions and the fields of science, education, culture and arts, public health and media.

The plaza of the palace was packed with servicepersons of the KPA, representatives of every province, people from all walks of life, overseas compatriots and foreigners to bid last farewell to Kim Jong Il.

The guards of honor of the three services of the KPA and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a column of soldiers holding colors were seen solemnly standing there.

Kim Jong Un together with senior officials of the party and armed forces organs entered the plaza, walking by the side of the hearse, escorted by a column of soldiers holding colors of the KPA.

The head of the guards of honor of the three services of the KPA and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards made a farewell report to the bier of Kim Jong Il.

The hearse passed by the guards of honor and the column of soldiers holding colors saluting Kim Jong Il.

The hearse, followed by motorcade carrying the dear respected Kim Jong Un and the members of the National Funeral Committee, headed for the streets crowded with millions of people of different social standings, servicepersons of the KPA and foreigners staying in the DPRK to bid last farewell to Kim Jong Il.

The funeral procession threaded its way along the 40km-long route.

The hearse arrived at the place to be lain amid the last farewell bidden by millions of Pyongyangites and servicepersons of the KPA in tears.

The head of the guards of honor of the three services of the KPA and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards made a farewell report to the bier of Kim Jong Il.

The guards of honor and the column of soldiers holding colors made a solemn salute to the bier before paying last respects to the leader.

Kim Jong Un made a bow in deep reverence before the bier of Kim Jong Il, expressing deep condolences.

The moment of placing the bier soldiers of the KPA fired 21 volleys of rifles and guns to mourn his demise.

The guards of honor and the column of colors holders marched past, praying for the immortality of Kim Jong Il.

At the end of the ceremony Kim Jong Un gave the senior officials of the party, state and armed forces organs important instructions to thoroughly implement the behests of Kim Jong Il, holding him in high esteem forever.


A car carrying a portrait of Kim Jong Il and other vehicles arrives for a funeral ceremony for KJI in Pyongyang on 28 December 2011 (Photo: KCNA)

On 26 December, the Korean Workers’ Party daily newspaper, Rodong Sinmun published an essay which said that, ” the entire party is briskly making moves under the unitary leadership of great Comrade Kim Jong Un, and the revolution and the construction are being vigorously carried out according to his intents. All of the party organizations, functionaries, and party members are rousing the tens of millions of masses with tons of courage, while taking the lead in faithfully upholding the leadership of great Comrade Kim Jong Un.”  Free NK Radio, citing sources from the city of Sinu’iju on the DPRK-China border, claims that a directive from the party’s organization apparatus have scheduled local party meetings on 30 and 31 December, which will endorse and convey loyalty to KJU’s election to some of his father’s vacant positions, such as KPA Supreme Commander and Party Central Military Commission Chairman.

Kim Jong Il's funeral cortege proceeds down Ch'o'llima Street in central Pyongyang, passing the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium (Photo: KCNA)

Members of the DPRK central leadership attend a funeral ceremony for Kim Jong Il in the plaza outside Ku'msusan Memorial Hall on 28 December 2011. Seen in this image (L-R) are: VMar Kim Yong Chun; VMar Ri Yong Ho; Kim Jong Un; Kim Yong Nam; Choe Yong Rim; Kim Yo Jong; and Jon Pyong Ho (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

In the meantime, Kim Jong Un has begun to receive public support from two of the DPRK’s elder statesmen.  Kim Yong Nam, who is head of the standing committee [presidium] of the country’s unicameral parliamentary body Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA], told a delegation of visiting ROK elected officials that, “”Kim Jong-il had accomplished these feats, and North Koreans are reassured to have Gen. Kim Jong-un.  The great successor has an extraordinary appearance that resembles Kim Il-sung  and Kim Jong-il. He is determined to complete Gen. Kim Jong-il’s accomplishments.”  The Wednesday edition of Rodong Sinmun carried notices of support from former DPRK Cabinet Premier and South Hamgyo’ng Chief KWP Secretary Kwak Pom Gi and Mar Ri Ul Sol.  Mar Ri’s endorsement is particularly interesting because he has a very close relationship with KJI’s eldest son, Kim Jong Nam.

KBS World reports:

North Korean elders and officials who represent the Kim Jong-un regime pledged their loyalty to their new leader on the day of Kim Jong-il’s funeral.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, carried such pledges in its Wednesday edition.

In his pledge, Ri Ul-sol, who fought for Korean independence from the Japanese colonial occupation said the former independence fighters will uphold the “respectable” Kim Jong-un as the new leader. He said Kim is their “destiny” and “future,” and they will give all their might to build North Korea as a powerful socialist nation.

A chief party secretary in South Hamgyeong Province, Kwak Pom-gi, also vowed to uphold the great leadership of Kim Jong-un.

Rodong Sinmun also carried an editorial highlighting KJI’s leadership, which listed “artificial satellites and accessed nukes” in his legacy.  KCNA’s excerpt:

The DPRK has been dignified as a country that manufactured and launched artificial satellites and accessed nukes.

It effected industrial revolution in the new century, promising the bright future of the nation in the era of knowledge-based economy.

Kim Jong Il encouraged the ranks seized with tears and grief following the demise of President Kim Il Sung to turn out for building a thriving nation.

Thanks to these legacies we do not worry about the destiny of ourselves and posterity at this time of national mourning.

Kim Jong Il left nothing for himself. He devoted his life and happiness to the revolution.

To serve the people had been the life maxim that had been steadily carried forward in the revolutionary history of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and it was also philosophy of an uninterrupted revolution of the revolutionary family of Mt. Paektu.

People precisely means Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary legacy and people signifies his immortality.

Supreme leader of our party and people Kim Jong Un takes warm care of the people left by Kim Jong Il.

Every moment of Kim Jong Un’s life is replete with loving care and solicitude for the people. May Kim Jong Il bless the DPRK bright future with his eternal beaming smile.

3 comments on “KJI Funeral Program Begins

  1. Pingback: Scenes From A Communist King’s Funeral | Rearranging Prejudices

  2. Pat

    How interesting that a Cadillac carried his coffin. Those must be the same Cadillacs used in his father’s funeral. Isn’t that the only other time we’ve seen them? Will KJI be preserved in a glass box next to his father in Kumsusan Palace? Just curious.

    • nkleadershipwatch

      Think maybe it was a Lincoln, but it looked similar to a Caddie. While KJI rode primarily in custom modified Mercedes S-class, but from what I understand there are a few Lincolns and Cadillacs in the central party garage. After they embalmed and displayed KIS and repurposed the Ku’msusan the intention was that the same would happen to KJI when he died.

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