N. Korea Is Now Done Mourning Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Un may have opportunity to 'consolidate his power'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2014 9:54 AM CST

It's Korean tradition to mourn a parent's death for three years, and today North Korea reached a similar milestone marking the passing of Kim Jong Il in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reports. The country completed its mourning period with three minutes of silence—though it was also noted with the honking of car, ship, and train horns, the Telegraph reports. Meanwhile, residents placed flowers under statues of the former leader and his father, Kim Il Sung. "The end of the three-year mourning period can be used as a chance for Kim Jong Un to change the (governing) system and more thoroughly consolidate his power," says an expert in South Korea.

Recent days have seen stories in state media celebrating the younger Kim's achievements thus far. As a leader, he has behaved more like his grandfather than his father, the Times notes: He's often seen in public with his wife, marking a contrast to his father's reclusive nature. It's even possible that he could travel abroad for the first time since becoming leader. He was recently invited to Russia for a celebration of the defeat of the Nazis next year, insiders tell Japan's Asahi Shimbun. Kim, however, would seemingly rather visit at a time when no other foreign leaders were in Moscow, the paper notes. (More North Korea stories.)

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