N Korea postpones summit with South: Pyongyang's media hail Kim's heir while China guardedly endorses the dynastic succession

NORTH KOREA yesterday informed South Korea that the first-ever summit between the two Korean leaders would have to be postponed because of the death last Friday of Kim Il Sung, the North's 82- year-old leader.

Meanwhile, the state-run media has been turning out ever-more elaborate praise of Kim Jong Il, the 52-year-old son whom Kim Il Sung had chosen as his successor despite apparent resistance both from within the country and from its most powerful foreign patron, China. Kim Jong Il was reported yesterday to have received foreign ambassadors in Pyongyang, indicating that he was already taking on his father's mantle.

But as the People's Assembly and the Central Committee of the Communist Party began gathering in Pyongyang to elect a new leader, the world could only wait to see whether the new regime would bow to demands that it open its suspect nuclear programme to foreign inspectors.

No foreigners are to be invited to Kim Il Sung's funeral next Sunday. Even former United States President Jimmy Carter, who met Kim Il Sung three weeks ago and conveyed the invitation for a summit to South Korea's President, Kim Young Sam, was told through diplomatic channels that his request to attend the funeral had been turned down.

The postponement of the inter-Korean summit, planned for 25-27 July, was not unexpected. Diplomats noted that Pyongyang did not say the meeting was cancelled, leaving open the possibility of rescheduling once a new head of state has been appointed. In a letter sent by Kim Yong Sun, the chairman of North Korea's Unification Policy Committee, to the South, he said: 'I have been instructed to let you know we cannot but delay the scheduled summit meeting between the top leaders of South and North Korea, owing to an unexpected incident which has already been made known by special announcement.'

If Kim Jong Il is made both President and head of the Korean Workers' (Communist) Party, he would have to overcome his shyness of publicity to meet the South's President in what would be a high-profile occasion. Alternatively the President's job could conceivably go to Kim Il Sung's younger brother, Kim Yong Ju, who is now a vice-president, while Kim Jong Il would take the job as head of the party and attempt to control everything from behind the scenes.

North Korean radio has already made a subtle, but telling shift in describing Kim Jong Il as the 'Great Leader', a title which used to refer to his father. The son had been called the 'Dear Leader'. Yesterday's edition of the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the country's Communist Party, said: 'We will entrust our destiny entirely to Kim Jong Il and remain loyal and devoted to him.'

The paper praised the deceased Kim Il Sung for solving in advance 'the question of inheriting the cause of the leader. This is the greatest and most brilliant feat among the feats he performed for the country and the revolution.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf