Kim Jong Un has been declared the supreme leader of North Korea by the country’s power brokers. The proclamation was made at the public memorial for his father on Thursday. The announcement cements the family’s hold on power over the country for another generation.
“Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un is our party, military and country’s supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong Il’s ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage,” Kim Yong Nam, considered North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, said in a speech, according to the Huffington Post.
Un was wearing a dark overcoat and was flanked on either side by top military and party officials during the memorial and the announcement. He was also joined by Kim Jong Il’s younger sister, Kim Kyong Hui and her husband Jang Song Thaek. The two will be serving as mentors to their young nephew.
“The father’s plan is being implemented,” Ralph Cossa, president of Pacific Forum CSIS, said. “All of these guys have a vested interest in the system and a vested interest in demonstrating stability. The last thing they want to do is create havoc.”
Kim Jong Il dies of a heart attack on December 17 at the age of 69. He led the country, of 24 million, with absolute power for 17 years. Kim Jong Il inherited power from his father, Kim Il Sung, who also died of a heart attack back in 1994. This hereditary succession was the first in history for the communist world. Kim Jong Il revealed last year that Kim Jong Un would be the successor, chosen from three known sons.
Three main positions were held by Kim Jong Il and they were chairman of the National Defense Commission, general secretary of the Workers’ Party and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. Kim Jong Il’s position as the chairman of the National Defense Commission, according to the constitution, makes him the supreme leader of North Korea.
Un was made a four star general last year and was appointed as a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party. Media within the country have bestowed on Un a couple of titles includes Great Successor, Supreme Leader and Sagacious Leader.
It is also expected that Kim will assume command of the Workers’ Party and become the chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, according to a professor at Korea University in South Korea. Un might also be officially named the supreme commander of the military ahead of the scheduled date of January 8, 2012, which is believed to be the birthday of Un.
It has been watched closely since the death of Kim Jong Il as to who will be in the inner circle of his son in terms of trusted aides during the transition to leadership.