Kim Jong Un was made a four-star general last year and appointed a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party. Since his father’s death, state media have bestowed on him a series of new titles signaling that his succession campaign was gaining momentum: Great Successor, Supreme Leader and Sagacious Leader.
Last weekend, the Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called on the younger Kim to step into his father’s role as supreme commander of the armed forces.
He may be officially named supreme commander of the military ahead of Jan. 8, which is believed to be his birthday, said Cheong Seong-chang at the Sejong Institute in South Korea.
The aftermath of Kim Jong Il’s death has been watched closely for clues about who in the military and Workers' Party will form Kim’s inner circle of trusted aides during the sensitive transition to leadership.
Following right behind Kim during a Wednesday funeral procession through Pyongyang streets with Kim Jong Il’s hearse was his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who is a vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission and has family ties to the military.
During Thursday’s memorial, flags at half-staff fluttered in the wind on the cold winter’s day, and people were bundled up in parkas. State TV showed a delegation of foreigners attending the memorial.
They bowed their heads as eight artillery guns fired; military officers removed their hats while the booms resonated across Kim Il Sung Square.
The streets went still again for a three-minute period of silence. Heads bowed, workers paused next to a green train and bystanders stopped where they were, some standing next to their bicycles, as trains and boats sirens blew their horns, according to state media.
• Associated Press Korea bureau chief Jean H. Lee and writers Hyung-jin Kim, Foster Klug, Scott McDonald and Sam Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.
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