Jong-un ' is supreme commander'


A week after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, a major North Korean state newspaper referred to his son, Kim Jong-un, as "supreme commander" of the state's 1.1 million-strong armed forces today.

It marked the first time North Korea's media, run by the communist government, had described Kim Jong-un as military commander.

State news agency KCNA quoted Rodong Sinmun, published by the North's ruling Workers' Party, as saying the North Korean people "will complete the task of the songun [military-first] revolution by calling Comrade Kim Jong-un as high as our supreme commander".

Pyongyang announced on Monday that Kim Jong-il had died of a heart attack last Saturday. He was believed to be 69.

Since then North Korea's state media have called the younger Kim, who is in his late 20s, the "Great Successor". He has also been called by his official title of vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the North's communist party.

Kim Jong-il was given the title of supreme commander of the army in 1991, assuming the hereditary dictatorship three years later from his father, Kim Il-sung, that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after the second World War.

A senior source told Reuters this week Pyongyang will shift to a coterie of rulers, including the military and Kim Jong-un's uncle. The military has pledged its allegiance to the younger Kim.