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PYONGYANG, December 27 (Itar-Tass) — The national memorial service will be held for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at noon on December 29, it is said in a report the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released Tuesday. It said gun volleys will be fired in Pyongyang and in provincial seats and all the people will observe three minutes’ silence and all locomotives and ships (those on voyage included) will blow whistles and those units with sirens will sound them all at once.
The body of Kim Jong Il is lying in state in a coffin installed at the Kumsusan Memorial complex where the mausoleum of his father, founder of the country Kim Il Sung is situated.
The public is granted access to the body from December 20 to 27. According to a medical report published here, Kim Jong Il died in a train on December 17 due to the extreme “physical and mental fatigue caused by continuous field guidance tours of the country.” The DPRK head has been undergoing treatment over a long time period for cardiovascular disorders.
According to KCNA, servicepersons of the Korean People’s Army, working people of all social strata and youth and students have visited the mourning place, hardly holding back tears. They have been stricken with heartrending grief since the announcement of the death of Kim Jong Il that came like a bolt from the blue. Seen before the bier were shoulder straps of the DPRK Marshal, Kim Il Sung Order, Kim Il Sung Prize, medals of the DPRK hero and labour hero and lots of other orders and medals.
Seen beside the bier was a wreath from Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea. Members of the National Funeral Committee were standing guards of honour by the side of the bier, the agency reported earlier.
Amid the solemn playing of funeral music, wreaths in the name of the State Science and Technology Commission, Ministry of Electronics Industry, Ministry of Construction and Building Materials Industry, Ministry of Land and Marine Transport, Ministry of Agriculture, the Rodong Sinmun, Korean Central News Agency, Central Broadcasting Committee of Korea, Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory, units of KPA and the Korean People's Internal Security Forces, and others were placed before the bier, according to KCNA.
Looking up to the venerable image of Kim Jong Il, the mourners burst into tears, finding it hard to repress welling up tears, the agency reported. They observed a moment's silence calling back with deep emotion the undying revolutionary life of the peerlessly great man dedicated to the country and people.
The death of Kim Jong Il was reported by North Korean state television news on 19 December 2011. The presenter, Ri Chun-hee, announced that he had died on 17 December at 8:30 AM of a massive heart attack whilst travelling by train to an area outside Pyongyang. Reportedly, he had received medical treatment for “cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases.” During the trip, though, he was said to have had an “advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock.” His son, Kim Jong Un, was announced as North Korea’s next leader with the title of “The Great Successor” during the same newscast. Images showed that in the streets of Pyongyang, many people wept over Kim's death. People could be seen gathering to pay their respects, some kneeling, some wailing, and some beating the ground with their fists.
The BBC reported that the Korean Central News Agency said people were “convulsing with pain and despair” at their loss, but would unite behind his successor, Kim Jong Un. “All party members, military men and the public should faithfully follow the leadership of comrade Kim Jong Un and protect and further strengthen the unified front of the party, military and the public.”
Workplaces and local government offices have organized meetings to create a proper atmosphere of mourning. People's Units have emphasized the “Last Instructions of Kim Jong Il,” and groups from schools and workplaces have been visiting statues of Kim Il Sung and other major memorials to pay their respects.
On 20 December, Kim Jong-Il's embalmed body lay in a glass coffin at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where his father Kim Il Sung is also interred, for an 11-day mourning period prior to the funeral. Like his father, Kim’s body was covered in a red flag and surrounded by blossoms of his namesake flowers, red Kimjongilia. It is expected that the body will be placed next to his father's bier following the funeral and mourning period. As solemn music played, Kim Jong Un entered the hall to view his father’s bier, surrounded by military honour guards. He observed a moment of solemn silence, then circled the bier, followed by other officials.
On Saturday December 24 Kim Jong Un made a third visit to the palace where his father’s body is lying in state. At this broadcast, Jang Song Thaek, whom South Korean intelligence assumed he will play larger roles supporting the heir, stood with military uniform near young Kim as he paid respects to Kim Jong Il’s body lying in state.
Kim Jong Il’s funeral is scheduled for 28 December in Pyongyang, with a mourning period lasting until the following day.