December 31, 2011

North Koreans urged to defend Jong-Un 'to the death'

North Korea has called on the country to defend the new leader, Kim Jong-un, to the death, in a New Year message.

The army, ruling party and people should be prepared to act as "human shields" for the son and successor of Kim Jong-il, the message released by state media said.

It added that the nation must launch an "all-out drive" to achieve prosperity.

Kim Jong-il, who had ruled since 1994, died on 17 December.

His son, Kim Jong-un, took the reins after his death and has in recent days quickly consolidated his power in the country.

On Friday, he was appointed supreme commander of the country's 1.2 million-strong armed forces, according to state media.

"Glorify this year 2012 as a year of proud victory, a year when an era of prosperity is unfolding," the message released by the official Korean Central News Agency said.

"The whole Party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong Un unto death."

The coming year marks the centennial of the birth of Kim Jong-un's grandfather and national founder, Kim Il-sung, who ruled for nearly 50 years.

Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack, aged 69, state media reported.

On Wednesday, a huge funeral procession was staged for the late leader in the snowy streets of the capital, Pyongyang.

By The Latest New Staff

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