Pyongyang: North Korea on Sunday aired footage showing the uncle and key patron of anointed heir Kim Jong Un wearing a military uniform with a general's insignia, a strong sign he'll play a crucial role in helping the young man take over power and uphold the "military-first" policy initiated by his late father, Kim Jong Il.
The footage on state television shows Jang Song Thaek in uniform as he pays respects at Kim Jong Il's body lying in state at Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
Seoul's Unification Ministry says it's the first time Jang, usually seen in business suits, has been shown wearing a military uniform on state TV.
Little by little, North Korea is offering hints on the details of Kim Jong Un's rise and the future composition of his inner circle as millions continue to mourn for his father, who died one week ago.
North Korea has also begun hailing Kim Jong Un as "supreme leader" of the 1.2-million strong military as it ramps up its campaign to install him as ruler.
The new title, a public show of support from top military leadership and the symbolic appearance of Jang in uniform send a strong signal that the nation will maintain Kim Jong Il's "military first" policy for the time being.
South Korean intelligence has reportedly predicted Kim Jong Un's aunt Kim Kyong Hui, a key Workers' Party official, and her husband Jang, who is a vice chairman of the powerful National Defence Commission, will play larger roles supporting the heir.
Jang and his wife have risen to the top of North Korea's political and military elite since the succession campaign began two years ago.
Both 65, they also have the weight of seniority so important in a society that places a premium on age and alliances.