North Korea's official media hailed dead leader Kim Jong-il's son Jong-un as the supreme commander of the North Korean military and the general secretary of the Workers Party on Saturday.
The official Rodong Sinmun daily said, "We hold comrade Kim Jong-un in high esteem as our supreme commander and our general" and urged Kim Jong-un to "accept the people's request" to become the supreme commander.
That suggests he is already acting as the de facto supreme commander, a South Korean security official said. "There is now going to follow a charade where these 'requests' intensify and Kim Jong-un reluctantly accepts."
Ryu Dong-ryeol of the Police Policy Research Institute speculated, "There's a high likelihood that the regime will hold a full session of the party's Central Military Commission right after Kim Jong-il's funeral on Wednesday, which will put up Kim Jong-un as the supreme commander."
Kim Jong-il also became supreme commander on Christmas Eve, at a party session in 1991.
The official Korean Central News Agency said, "The entire military has upheld the slogan 'Let's defend with our life the party's Central Military Commission led by the respected and beloved comrade Kim Jong-un.'"
Chung Sung-jang of the Sejong Institute said that means Kim Jong-un is now the de-facto party general secretary."
The North Korean media have been using phrases previously applied to Kim senior for his successor. "Comrade Kim Jong-un, who embraces and takes care of the people, is the genuine leader of the people and their father," KCNA said, while the Rodong Sinmun wrote, "Let's become eternal revolutionary comrades of comrade Kim Jong-un, the sun of the 21st century."
Earlier, in a full front-page editorial last Thursday, the Rodong Sinmun said, "We must faithfully uphold comrade Kim Jong-un's leadership."
Prof. Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University said, "After Kim Il-sung died in 1994, the Rodong Sinmun talked in an editorial only about his 'last wishes,' but not Kim Jong-il's leadership, but this time, only three days after the official announcement of Kim Jong-il's death, the daily talked about 'Kim Jong-un's leadership.' This shows how impatient the regime is to establish the new leader."