- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
North Koreans salute, cry for late leader Kim Jong-il
Question of the Day
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Tens of thousands of North Koreans lined the snowy streets of Pyongyang on Wednesday, wailing and clutching their chests as a black hearse carried late leader Kim Jong-il’s body through the capital for a final farewell.
The procession also put his young son and successor, Kim Jong-un, on center stage. He was head mourner on a gray and freezing day, walking with one hand on the hearse, the other raised in salute, his head somberly bowed against the wind.
At the end of the 2½-hour procession, Kim Jong-un stood flanked by the top party and military officials who are expected to be his inner circle of advisers as rifles fired 21 times, then saluted again as goose-stepping soldiers carrying flags and rifles marched by.
Kim Jong-il — who led the nation with absolute rule after father Kim Il-sung’s death in 1994, through a devastating famine that killed hundreds of thousands and a controversial drive to build up nuclear and missile programs that earned North Korea international sanctions and condemnation — died of a heart attack Dec. 17 at age 69.
Mourners in parkas lined the streets of Pyongyang, waving, stamping and crying as the convoy bearing his coffin passed by. Some struggled to get past police holding back the crowd.
“How can the sky not cry?” a weeping soldier standing in the snow said to state TV. “The people … are all crying tears of blood.”
Even as North Koreans mourned the loss of the second leader the nation has known, the transition of power to Kim Jong-un was well under way. The young man, who is in late 20s, is already being hailed by state media as the “supreme leader” of the party, state and army.
Mr. Kim was somber in a long, dark overcoat as he strode alongside his father’s hearse accompanied by top party officials behind him and key military leaders on the other side of the limousine — a lineup that provided a good look at who will make up the core leadership in North Korea.
Also escorting the limousine were military chief Ri Yong-ho and People’s Armed Forces Minster Kim Yong-chun. Their presence indicates they will be important players as the younger Mr. Kim consolidates his leadership.
Top Workers’ Party officials Choe Thae-bok and Kim Ki-nam and senior military officer Kim Jong-gak also took prominent positions.
“It shows they will be core powers in North Korea,” said Yoo Ho-yeol, a professor at Korea University in South Korea. “Particularly, Jang Song-thaek and Ri Yong-ho will be key to Kim Jong-un’s leadership.”
The early part of the funeral ceremony was shrouded in secrecy, as in 1994, when Kim Il-sung died. Back then, Kim Jong-il and top officials held a private, hourlong ceremony inside the Kumsusan Memorial Palace before the procession through the city, according to his official biography.
Pyongyang’s foreign diplomats were invited to attend the procession, though few other outsiders appeared to be allowed into the country for the funeral.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Australia issues arrest warrant for men believed to be homegrown ISIL terrorists
- Iraq Christians get meeting with top Obama aide
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors