North Korea airs 'birthday' documentary of new leader

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Media captionClips from the documentary showing North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea has marked what is reported to be the birthday of its new leader, Kim Jong-un, with a documentary aired on state television.

The film shows him in his new role as supreme military commander - inspecting troops, saluting and sitting in a tank.

It also confirms that he was being groomed for the role from 2009, showing footage of him from that time watching a rocket launch with his father.

Kim Jong-un's age is not known but he is believed to be in his late 20s.

The death of Kim Jong-il on 17 December left the threat of a dangerous vacuum in a society raised to venerate one supreme leader, the BBC's Lucy Williamson reports from Seoul.

Less than a month on, North Korea's unique media machine is already working to fill it, she adds.

'Military brilliance'

The documentary, aired on state television, shows Kim Jong-un manoeuvring a tank, watching jet fighter and firing exercises and posing for photographs with soldiers.

It also shows him with his father shaking hands with officials at a satellite control centre after scientists launched a rocket in April 2009.

"I had decided to wage a real war if the enemies shot down" the rocket, he is quoted as saying.

The film also shows him visiting factories, talking to officials and inspecting their work - all the things his father used to do.

Websites linked to the North Korean government have already begun describing the new leader as having the wisdom of great men, extraordinary competence and military brilliance, our correspondent says.

Kim Jong-un was named "supreme leader of the party, state and army" following the death of his father.

He has already pledged to continue with Kim Jong-il's "military first" policies.