1 Jan 2012

North Koreans told to protect new leader

2:51 pm on 1 January 2012

The people of North Korea have been urged to defend their new leader Kim Jong-un, to the death.

State media issued an official editorial calling on the party, the army and the people to become human shields in his defence.

The Korean Central News Agency said:

''The whole Party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un unto death.''

Kim Jong-un was formally named supreme commander of North Korea's armed forces on Friday, as part of his succession to the leadership following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, 69, on 17 December.

On Wednesday, a huge funeral procession was staged for the late leader in the streets of the capital, Pyongyang.

His father Kim Il-sung ruled for nearly 50 years. 2012 marks the centennial of his birth.