Kim Jong Un Emerges, as Does His Dad

Support from military, media shows transition on track
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2011 6:53 AM CST
Updated Dec 20, 2011 7:55 AM CST
Kim Jong Un Emerges in Mourning
The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is laid in a memorial palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, today.   (AP Photo/KRT)

(Newser) – Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance today since the death of his father, paying his respects at the Pyongyang mausoleum where Kim Jong Il lies in state in a glass coffin, reports the New York Times. The younger Kim was accompanied by senior party and military officials, while mourners in the street praised him and the official state media touted his legitimacy—indicating that North Korea's transition of power so far appears to be on track.

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The United States appears divided over how much to push Pyongyang for reform at this delicate time, reports the Wall Street Journal. Some advocate pressuring the young leader now, as he is still consolidating power, while others believe foreign countries should back off and let North Korea stabilize, as a new generation of leaders might be more open to change. Kim Jong Il's official funeral will be held Dec. 28, but foreign delegations will not be invited. “There will be new leaders in North Korea. They will be younger,” said one intelligence expert. “US officials will need to consider what signals to send to North Korea and when and how best to do this, to maximize the chances for positive change in North Korea.” (Read more Kim Jong Il stories.)

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