North Korea: Kim Jong Il’s Body On Permanent Display

Posted January 12th, 2012 at 2:20 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea says the body of its late leader Kim Jong Il will lie in state permanently at the same memorial palace where his father's embalmed body is on display.

The official Korean Central News Agency said Thursday that Mr. Kim's body will be displayed at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace. The body of his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, has been on display at the mausoleum since his death in 1994.

The report also said that Kim Jong Il has been named “eternal leader” of the communist party – much like his father, who was named “eternal president” after his death.

Analysts say the decision to publicly display Kim Jong Il's body alongside his father's may be an attempt to boost the dynastic power of his son and successor, Kim Jong Un. Members of the Kim dynasty have achieved a near god-like status in North Korea.

Since Kim Jong Il died on December 17 of a heart attack, North Korea has hailed Kim Jong Un as his “great successor” and formally appointed him as military chief. On Monday, North Korea's powerful military held a mass rally outside the palace to pledge loyalty to the young leader.

The KCNA report also said that Kim Jong Il's birthday on February 16 will be celebrated as the “Day of the Shining Star,” in apparent reference to a long-range missile of the same name that was developed during his 17-year rule.

It also said the government will erect a statue of Kim Jong Il, hang his smiling portraits, and build “towers to his immortality” across the country.

Giant statues, portraits and “eternal life” towers dedicated to Kim Il Sung can already be found in many places across the isolated communist country.