Kim Jong-il to be embalmed

The body of late North Korean "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il is to be embalmed and put on display at a palace in the capital Pyongyang, state media said.

North Korean state news agency KCNA said memorial towers to Kim's "immortality" would also be erected across the country and his birthday, Feb 16, would be marked annually as the "Day of the Shining Star".

Kim's father, president Kim il-Sung, was also embalmed and placed on permanent display at the sprawling Kumsusan Memorial Palace on the outskirts of the city after his death in 1994. The anniversary of his birth is marked every April 15 as the "Day of the Sun".

Kim Jong-il's body lay in public view at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in the days following his death from a heart attack Dec 17. There has been no confirmation of who will carry out the process of embalming Kim Jong-il's body. His father's body was embalmed by specialists from Moscow.

Kim Jong-il was succeeded as head of state by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who is said to be in his late 20s. Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, who lives in self-imposed exile in China, was reported by Japanese media as saying that his younger brother would merely be the face of the new North Korean regime.

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