By Kim Kwang-tae
North Korea’s state media referred to late leader Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Jong-un, as an outstanding leader, a proclamation of the official opening of a new era in the communist country.
“We should unite around great comrade Kim Jong-un and faithfully follow his leadership,” the North’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Thursday in a lengthy editorial carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
The propaganda campaign came amid North Korea’s efforts to ensure a smooth transition of power following the sudden death of leader Kim Jong-il.
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney formally mentioned the name of the new leader amid speculation over the North’s future leadership system.
“Kim Jong-il had designated Kim Jong-un as his official successor and at this time we have no indication that that has changed,” Carney said Wednesday in a press briefing.
The North’s editorial suggested that the new leader will follow his father’s teachings in handling domestic and foreign affairs.
North Korea will make efforts to “strengthen friendships with people of other countries,” the editorial said, though it did not mention how it will deal with South Korea or the United States.
The editorial also called on the military to bolster its capabilities for self-defense in every way to reliably safeguard the country’s socialist system.
“We should further strengthen the combat power of the People’s Army to sternly and mercilessly crush any provocations by enemies,” it said, in an apparent reference to South Korea and the U.S.