All signs out of North Korea suggest the transition of power to Kim Jong Il’s son is going smoothly, with no unusual troop movements and no buildup around the heavily fortified border, US and South Korean defence officials said.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said that as of Wednesday the US military has not seen any unusual military movements by the North Koreans.
“This appears to be a relatively smooth transition on the peninsula, and we hope it stays that way,” he said, adding that there have been no increases in force protection levels for US troops in South Korea.South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Won-sik said North Korea’s military isn’t showing any particular movement and that the South’s troops are operating normally.
Ratcheting up its propaganda machine, meanwhile, North Korea claimed Kim’s death generated a series of spectacular natural phenomena, creating a mysterious glow atop a revered mountain, cracking a sheet of ice on a lake with a loud roar and inspiring a crane to circle a statue of the nation’s founder before perching in a tree and drooping its head in sorrow.
North Korean media have presented a steady flow of dramatic scenes of mourning since Kim’s death, which Pyongyang says happened on Saturday after he suffered a massive heart attack while on a train. Tens of thousands of mourners packed Pyongyang’s snowy main square to pay respects to him.