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Kim Jong Un pays respect to father

Kim Jong Un pays respect to father
The North Korean flag flies at half-mast over its embassy in Beijing December 19, 2011. China on Monday offered its "deep condolences" on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, which analysts said will spur China's leaders to boost ties with Pyongyang to prevent instability. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

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PYONGYANG, North Korea, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un visited Kim Jong Il lying in state in a glass coffin Tuesday as North Korean soldiers and citizens wailed in public mourning of the leader's death.

Kim Jong Un's visit to the Kumsusan mausoleum was his first public appearance since his father's death Saturday, The New York Times reported.

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North Korean officials announced the death Monday.

North Korean state television showed Kim's body covered with a red blanket and his head on a white pillow. Flowers surrounded the coffin.

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Senior party and military officials accompanied Kim Jong Un. The Kim family, beginning with Kim Il Sung, Kim's grandfather and the country's founding president, has ruled the isolated country for more than six decades.

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Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack brought about by overwork and stress, North Korea's state-run media reported. The state funeral is set for Dec. 28.

South Korea expressed sympathy to North Korea over Kim's death, but decided against sending an official delegation to the country, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

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But the government will allow families of the late South Korean President Kim Dai-jung and late Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun to pay condolence visits to Pyongyang because the North Korean government sent delegations to Seoul when Kim and Chung died, Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said.

"Regarding the death of Chairman Kim Jong Il, the government conveys sympathy to the people of North Korea," Yu said

In Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao made a condolence call to the North Korean Embassy, the Times said. Beijing already indicated it would back Kim Jong Un as leader.

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