SEOUL — North Korea Thursday announced plans to honour late leader Kim Jong-Il, saying his body would lie in state in a Pyongyang palace and memorial towers would be built nationwide.
Kim died on December 17 of a heart attack at age 69 after 17 years in charge of the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation. His son Kim Jong-Un has taken over the leadership.
The ruling communist party, describing the late Kim as its “eternal leader”, announced that his body would lie in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
Kim’s corpse was on display at the palace before an elaborate funeral on December 28. The embalmed body of his late father, founding president Kim Il-Sung, is on view to favoured visitors at the building.
The party, in a report carried by the official news agency, announced plans for a statue to Kim Jong-Il but gave no details. It also said smiling portraits “and towers to his immortality” would be built nationwide.
His birthday on February 16, “the greatest auspicious holiday of the nation”, would be named the Day of the Shining Star, according to the decision made by the political bureau of the party’s central committee.
The late Kims were the subject of a massive personality cult that bestowed near-godlike status on them. Kim Il-Sung, whose birthday on April 15 is known as the Day of the Sun, was declared eternal president after his death in 1994.
The party’s propaganda apparatus is now burnishing the image of Jong-Un, who is aged in his late 20s and has little known previous experience of ruling.