North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Has Died Aged 70, South Korea On Emergency Footing

Just out on Yonhap:

  • North Korea says its leader Kim Jong-il has died.
  • N. Korean leader died of fatigue at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17 during train ride: KCNA

From Daily Yomiuri:

  • Cause of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death is said to be a stroke.

And Reuters confirms:

  • NORTH KOREA STATE TELEVISION SAYS KIM JONG IL HAS DIED

Great. More geopolitical uncertainty. Because as the Arab Spring has shown us there is nothing quite as stable as a transitory military government to fill a power vacuum (also see Thermidorian reaction during the French Revolution).

As expected the South Korean response is immediate.

  • S. Korean gov't shifts to emergency footing on news of N.K. leader's death

South Korean on emergency alert following the news:

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Monday placed all military units on emergency alert following the news of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death.

 

The JCS said it called an emergency meeting of officials handling crisis management and operations just after noon Monday, after the North Korean media reported Kim's death.

Some more from Reuters:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died on Saturday on a train trip, a tearful state television announcer, dressed in black, reported on Monday.

 

The announcer said that the 69-year old had died of physical and mental over-work on his way to give "field guidance".

 

He had suffered a stroke in 2008, but appeared to have recovered.

 

The reclusive state had begun the process of transferring power to his son Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s.

And Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who ruled the communist nation with an iron fist while pursuing nuclear weapons programs, has died, state media said Monday. He was 69.

 

Kim, who took over North Korea after his father and national founder Kim Il-sung died in 1994, "passed away from a great mental and physical strain" during a train ride at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Korean Central News Agency said in an urgent dispatch.

Bloomberg chimes in:

  • A govt statement called on North Koreans to “loyally follow” his son, Kim Jong Un
  • Kim, 70, died on Dec. 17 of exhaustion brought on by a sudden illness while on a domestic train trip, the official Korean Central News Agency says
  • Kim probably had a stroke in August 2008 and may have also contracted pancreatic cancer, according to South Korean news reports