Nightly News   |  December 28, 2011

Farewell for North Korea’s ‘dear leader’

There was an elaborate and dramatic farewell Wednesday for Kim Jong-Il, the leader of one of the most isolated places on earth: North Korea. He died 10 days ago, and as his nation paid its final respects, the eyes of the world were on his young, untested successor. NBC’s Adrienne Mong reports.

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>>> overseas there was an elaborate and dramatic farewell today for kim jong -il, the leader of one of the most isolated places on earth, north korea . he died ten days ago, and as his nation paid its final respects, the eyes of the world were on his young untested successor. adrian wong watched it all from neighboring south korea .

>> reporter: it was a tightly choreographed spectacle of grief. for nearly three hours north korean television transmitted images of official mourning. kim jong -il's funeral pro session following a 25-mile route through pyongyang. thousands of north koreans , many elite members of regime, struggling to catch a final glimpse of the man they called dear leader . weeping openly often historically shouting father, please don't leave us, as cameramen moved in for close-ups. how much was staged or forced is impossible to say. leading the pro session, kim's young son and successor, kim jong -un followed by his uncle, many say the power behind the throne . a well orchestrated message of stability and continuity strikingly similar to the funeral 17 years ago with its giant portraits and american-looking limousines. the image, the regime pyongyang wanted the world to see. over here across the border in the south, north koreans who fled ntheir homeland had a different opinion.

>> translator: the only thing he did was starve 3 million people to death. she escaped the north eight years ago and works at an independent radio station in seoul. south koreans seemed resigned to more of the same.

>> the people become so used to emergencies, to crises one after another that at some point people have, you know, sort of become indifferent.

>> reporter: tomorrow north korea will observe a three-minute silence but questions about this untested new leader and where he might lead his country are likely to last far longer. adrian wong, nbc news, seoul.