Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong II of North Korea Dead at Age 69

Late Sunday evening reports surfaced that North Korean leader Kim Jong II had died. North Korean state media reported the 69- year old was en route to give field guidance advice to factories, farms and military bases, when he died of "physical and mental overwork." It appears Jong suffered a heart attack, which caused his death.

The White House and State Department were alerted of the situation Sunday afternoon and are said to be monitoring closely. Kim Jong II is said to be succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-Un. At this point we don't know how this will effect a US/North Korean relationship going forward.

"Kim Jong-un is a pale reflection of his father and grandfather. He has not had the decades of grooming and securing of a power base that Jong-il enjoyed before assuming control from his father," said Bruce Klingner, an Asia policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

"(He) may feel it necessary in the future to precipitate a crisis to prove his mettle to other senior leaders or deflect attention from the regime's failings."

Video from Chinese state television showed residents weeping in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. KCNA reported people were "writhing in pain" from the loss of the man who in 1994 assumed the leadership of the totalitarian state from his father Kim Il-sung, the North's first, and officially eternal, president.

News of the death of the man whose push to build a nuclear arsenal left the North heavily sanctioned and internationally isolated, triggered immediate nervousness in the region, with South Korea stepping up its military alert.

China, the North's neighbor and only powerful ally, said it was confident the North would remain united and that the two countries would maintain their relationship.

North Korea has been a nuclear threat for sometime now and this succession could further strain international relations between North Korea and South Korea, as well as other nations, if Kim Jong-Un feels he needs to flex his power muscle.

Will Kim Jong-Un improve North Korea for the nations citizens?
How will Kim Jong II's death effect the United States?
What justifies a nation starving its people, but building nuclear weapons?
We know very little about Kim Jong II, why do you think this is?
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