After Kim Jong Il, what's next for N. Korea?

On Wednesday, North Korea held an elaborate staged, funeralfor the country's late dictator, Kim Jong Il. CBS News correspondent David Martin reports on the drama and what it means moving forward.

As the funeral procession came into view, wails of grief went up from mourners who lined the route -- a grief not felt outside North Korea.

Just across the border in South Korea, they actually celebrated with fireworks.

Although his people called him their "heaven sent" leader, Kim Jong Il was seen by most of the world as the dictator from hell -- an autocrat who developed nuclear weapons while his people were starved of both food and freedom. Whether genuine or staged, the grief was a tribute to the personality cult built up around him during his 17 years as supreme leader.

In N. Korea, huge crowds at Kim's funeral march
Complete Coverage: The death of Kim Jong Il

"The snow is endlessly falling like tears," said a soldier. "How could the sky not cry when we've lost our general who was a great man from the sky."

His son and heir apparent as the next supreme leader, walked alongside the hearse: young in a culture that values age, inexperienced and untested in a country that seems to lurch from crisis to crisis, and -- to the outside world -- unknown. Kim Jong Un is said to be just 28 years old, but even that is not certain. His father had 20 years of grooming as the next leader before he took power. The son has had two years.

Intelligence analysts are pouring over these images searching for clues to the new leadership of North Korea: who stands in the foreground, who in the background, who makes the deepest bow. The initial analysis is that all the key military and political figures are supporting the son, but no one can say whether he will be the real leader or just a figurehead.

The biggest unknown is whether Un will continue his father's policy of putting the military first. The funeral procession certainly looked like the military still comes first. Un inherits a small but growing arsenal of nuclear weapons as well as a missile program that within five years will be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead on the continental United States.

The U.S. wants North Korea to suspend its nuclear program as the first step toward negotiations that could lead to normal relations. The father wouldn't do it, and so far there's no indication the son will either.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor, subbing for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News, asked Martin what do the North Koreans want from the U.S.

"Most immediately they want shipments of food," said Martin, "which the U.S. is willing to do so long as it goes to the people who need it and not the military. For their part, the North Koreans say if there are no food shipments there will be no progress on the nuclear talks."

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.

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