NKorea vows to defend Kim Jong Un “unto death”

North Korea is welcoming the New Year with a message saying the army, ruling party and people will become “human shields” to defend Kim Jong Il's son and successor “unto death.”

The North also said Sunday in its annual New Year's message that the country must “launch an all-out drive” to achieve prosperity. This year marks the centennial of the birth of new leader Kim Jong Un's grandfather, the revered national founder Kim Il Sung.

The New Year's message comes weeks after Kim Jong Il's Dec. 17 death.

North Korea in recent days has cemented Kim Jong Un's position as leader of the country.

On Saturday North Korea officially named him Supreme Commander over the 1.2 million-strong military.

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