North Korea to display Kim Jong-il's body permanently

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
Image caption Late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will lie alongside his father Kim Il-sung

North Korea has announced that the body of late leader Kim Jong-il will lie in state permanently at a palace in the capital, Pyongyang.

His body will be displayed at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace alongside his father, Kim Il-sung.

There are also plans to build memorial towers for him, state media said, and his 16 February birthday will be marked as a "Day of the Shining Star".

Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on 17 December at the age of 69.

His body was put on display at the palace before his elaborate funeral on 28 December.

The news came in an announcement from state news agency KCNA.

The decision to preserve Kim Jong-il was made to show "the unanimous desire and ardent request" of the party to hold Kim Jong-il in high esteem "as the eternal leader of the party", the KCNA report said.

The Kumsusan Memorial Palace was "eternal president" Kim Il-sung's home before it was converted into a mausoleum after his death.

The "Shining Star" is thought to be a reference to rockets built by North Korea under Mr Kim's policy of channelling funding to the military.

Kim Jong-il has been succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be in his late 20s.