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North Korea marks end of 3-year mourning period for late leader Kim Jong Il

  • North Koreans gather at the Kim Il Sung Square, some bowing towards portraits of their late leader Kim Jong Il, as an act of respect, to mark the third anniversary of his death, Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea marked the end of a three-year mourning period for the late leader Kim Jong Il on Wednesday, opening the way for his son, Kim Jong Un, to put a more personal stamp on the way the country is run. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

    North Koreans gather at the Kim Il Sung Square, some bowing towards portraits of their late leader Kim Jong Il, as an act of respect, to mark the third anniversary of his death, Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea marked the end of a three-year mourning period for the late leader Kim Jong Il on Wednesday, opening the way for his son, Kim Jong Un, to put a more personal stamp on the way the country is run. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)  (The Associated Press)

  • North Koreans gather at the Mansu Hill where the statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung, and Kim Jong Il tower over them Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Pyongyang, North Korea, a day before the 3rd anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    North Koreans gather at the Mansu Hill where the statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung, and Kim Jong Il tower over them Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Pyongyang, North Korea, a day before the 3rd anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)  (The Associated Press)

  • North Koreans gather at Kim Il Sung Square, most bowing towards portraits of their late leader, as an act of respect to mark the third anniversary of their late leader Kim Jong Il's death, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea marked the end of a three-year mourning period for the late leader Kim Jong Il on Wednesday, opening the way for his son, Kim Jong Un, to put a more personal stamp on the way the country is run. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

    North Koreans gather at Kim Il Sung Square, most bowing towards portraits of their late leader, as an act of respect to mark the third anniversary of their late leader Kim Jong Il's death, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea marked the end of a three-year mourning period for the late leader Kim Jong Il on Wednesday, opening the way for his son, Kim Jong Un, to put a more personal stamp on the way the country is run. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)  (The Associated Press)

North Korea is marking the end of a three-year mourning period for the late leader Kim Jong Il.

The end of the mourning period on Wednesday could open the way for his son, Kim Jong Un, to put a more personal stamp on the way the country is run. Major shifts are unlikely, but analysts will be watching closely to see if the younger Kim will initiate new policies that underscore his own priorities and goals.

Since the death of his father, Kim Jong Un has indicated he wants to build the economy and improve the nation's standard of living, but he has also held firm to the North's longstanding — and extremely costly — focus on strengthening its military and developing its nuclear weapons capabilities.