North Korea held a funeral for Kim Chol Man, a veteran of past anti-Japanese movements, who was credited for “modernizing the North Korean military.”

Kim, a member of the Korean Workers’ Party’s central committee who reportedly died Monday at the age of 98, was also a member of the Supreme People’s Assembly.

KCNA and Rodong Sinmun reported Thursday his remains will be buried at the Taesongsan Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery and leader Kim Jong Un, who was not present at the funeral, sent a wreath of flowers.

Choe Ryong Hae, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling party, delivered the eulogy, praising the former Kim Chol Man for his contributions to North Korea’s defenses.

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The North Korea official “achieved a self-reliant military line and actively contributed to the modernization of North Korea’s defense industry,” Choe said.

Choe also said Kim Jong Un expressed “heartbreak” upon the death of Kim Chol Man, and that the North Korean leader gave orders to build a bust of the deceased official.

North Korea media reported Kim died of a chronic disease. In attendance at the funeral were North Korean officials Kim Pyong Hae, Tae Jong Su, Choe Bu Il, Choe Hwi, No Kwang Chol, Ri Byong Chol, and Kim Neung O.

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Hwang Pyong So, one of Kim Jong Un’s top aides, was not present at the funeral, but a South Korean government official who spoke to South Korean paper Segye Ilbo said his absence does not hold “major significance.”

Kim Chol Man has served in government since the reign of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. He oversaw the economy of the military for 15 years from 1989 to 2003 as the chairman of the second economic commission, according to the Segye Ilbo.

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