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Heir to Kim Jong Il at lead of procession

North Korea's anointed heir Kim Jong Un led a solemn procession of mourners Tuesday to the glass coffin of his father and longtime ruler -- a strong indication that a smooth leadership transition was under way in the country known for secrecy and unpredictability.

Weeping members of North Korea's elite filed past the body of Kim Jong Il, which was draped in red cloth and surrounded by stony-faced honor guards and dozens of red and white flowers.

State media fed a budding personality cult around his youngest known son, hailing him as a "lighthouse of hope" as the country was awash in a "sea of tears and grief."

The bier was located in a hall of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, a mausoleum where the embalmed body of Kim Jong Il's father and North Korean founder Kim Il Sung has been on view in a glass sarcophagus since his death in 1994.

Kim Jong Il's son and heir, Kim Jong Un, 27, wore a black Mao-style suit, his hair cropped closely on the sides but longer on top, as he walked with much older officials in suits and military uniforms.

With the country in an 11-day period of official mourning, flags were at half-staff at all military units, factories, businesses, farms and public buildings. The streets of Pyongyang were quiet, but throngs gathered at landmarks honoring Kim.

Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on Saturday caused by overwork and stress, according to North Korean media. He was 69 -- although some experts question the official accounts of the date and place of his birth.

A state funeral is set for next Wednesday in Pyongyang, to be followed by a national memorial service the next day, according to state media.

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