- Kim Jong Il died on a train on Saturday morning from a heart attack
- Came into power in 1994, succeeding his father, Kim Il Sung
- Third son, Kim Jong Un, unveiled as successor in September 2010
- His uncle Jang Song Thaek expected to rule behind the scenes as he trains on the job
- South Korean and Japanese militaries on ‘high alert’
- North Korea has test-fired a short-range missile on eastern coast
- Fears of behind-the-scenes power struggle which could destabilise region
- Funeral planned for December 28 in capital of Pyongyang
- U.S. Defence Department said ‘no unusual North Korean military movements detected’ after dictator’s death
Thomas Durante, Jennifer Madison and Lee Moran
Last updated at 4:19 AM on 20th December 2011
U.S. Senator John McCain has said the world is better off now that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead.
McCain, a Republican lawmaker who was his party’s nominee for
president in 2008, said that Kim subjected his people to ‘dire poverty
and cruel oppression under one of the most totalitarian regimes the
world has ever known.’
‘The world is a better place now that Kim Jong-Il is no longer in it,’ McCain said.
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Dead: Kim Jong Il (left) died on Saturday and will now be replaced by his third son Kim Jong Un (right)
political colleagues, including GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney,
have joined the prominent and outspoken senator in saying bluntly that
Kim will not be missed after decades of oppression and threatening the
world with his nuclear programme.
McCain, the top-ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee who
was tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam war, didn’t pull any
He said, ‘I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader
is joining the likes of Gaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin in a warm
corner of hell.’
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has pulled no punches when expressing his ‘satisfaction’ with the death of Kim Jong Il
President Barack Obama’s administration has been cautious in public
statements about Kim’s death, calling for a ‘peaceful and stable’
transition as the regime moved to appoint Kim’s young son Kim Jong Un as
Kim Jong Il, who threatened the world
with his nuclear weapons ambitions and suppressed his own people with
imprisonment and isolation, died suddenly on Saturday aged 69 from a
His youngest son Kim Jong Un has been proclaimed as the new leader of North Korea.
the Communist state began 10 days of intense public mourning, the
country’s authorities called for North Korea’s people to back Kim Jong
Il’s third son as their new leader.
there are already fears the 28-year-old is too inexperienced and has
spent too little time in the country to take on the top role.
in a development likely to worry western observers following news of
Kim Jong Il’s death, the pariah state today test-fired a short-range
missile on its eastern coast.
world’s last Communist dictator, Kim Jong Il collapsed and died on
Saturday prompting a highly orchestrated display of public mourning
across the country.
Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack while on a train. He had ruled the country since succeeding his father Kim Il Sung in 1994.
also fear a behind-the-scenes power struggle, or nuclear instability,
between the country’s military and politicians – despite the
announcement his third son is to be his successor.
are also fears his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who is expected to rule
behind the scenes as he trains on the job, could make a power grab.
Rod Lyon, a Korea expert at the
Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra, said: ‘The reason
people are watching closely is not because we expect the North to strike
out, it’s because events within North Korea could have unsettling
‘If there’s a
contested succession, it means there’s a struggle over things like who
controls North Korea’s plutonium, not just who controls North Korea’s
army.’ The other key regional player is China, the closest North Korea
has to a major ally and which has a sometimes testy relationship with
the United States.
Too much to take: Women collapse in tears in the streets of Pyongyang as the nation mourned the passing of Kim Jong Il
Mourning: Pyongyang residents weep as they are told that their leader Kim Jong Il has died
Grief: Men and women have been reduced to tears with the news, which was announced by a weeping broadcaster on state TV (centre)
Jian, a Korea expert at Shanghai’s Fudan University, said: ‘China’s
biggest worry will be over North Korea’s stability, and China’s aim will
be to ensure the country remains stable.
think security will be stepped up in North Korea, and China is also
likely to tighten security along the border. If (Kim’s) death leads to
chaos, we could see a flow of refugees across the (Chinese) border.’
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who said his country was bracing
itself for the unexpected, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak
agreed over the phone to cooperate closely.
And Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has made several high-profile visits to North Korea, said: ‘The situation could become extremely volatile. What the North Korean military does in the next 24-48 hours will be decisive.’
The U.S. Defence Department said however the alert readiness for its forces on the Korean peninsula is unchanged after the death of Kim Jong Il.
Pentagon spokesman George Little also said Monday that no unusual North Korean military movements have been detected since Kim Jong Il’s death on Saturday after 17 years in power.
Tears: Korean television has been playing images of people grieving ever since the announcement that Kim Jong Il had died
In mourning: A woman holding flowers walks through a fence to enter the North Korea embassy to mourn the death of Kim Jong-il in Beijing, China
Expressive: North Koreans have been breaking down in tears following the news that their leader has died
Bill Richardson’s thoughts were echoed across the world, because the death comes at a sensitive time for
North Korea as it prepares for next year’s 100th anniversary of the
birth of founder Kim Il Sung – Kim Jong Il’s father. The preparations include massive construction projects throughout the
city as part of Kim Jong Il’s unfulfilled promise to bring prosperity to
Seoul and Washington will worry that Kim Jong Un ‘may feel it necessary
in the future to precipitate a crisis to prove his mettle to other
senior leaders’, according to Bruce Klingner, an Asia analyst at The
Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.
Barack Obama’s administration said it had been expected to decide on
food aid and the re-engagement of North Korea in nuclear issues this
week. But officials, worried about changes in the military postures of
both North and South Korea, said Kim’s death would delay the process.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said America hoped for improved ties with North Korea’s people after Kim Jong Il’s death.
‘We both share a common interest in a peaceful and stable transition in North Korea,’ Clinton said in an appearance with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
said his death could be a ‘turning point’ for the country and urged his
successors to recognise that engagement with the international community
offered the best hope of improving the lives of their people.
He said: ‘The people of North Korea
are in official mourning after the death of Kim Jong Il. We understand
this is a difficult time for them. This could be a turning point for
‘We hope their new leadership will recognise that
engagement with the international community offers the best prospect of
improving the lives of ordinary North Korean people.
‘We encourage North Korea to work for
peace and security in the region and take the steps necessary to allow
the resumption of the Six Party Talks on de-nuclearisation of the Korean
China said it
was ‘distressed’ to learn of his death but remained confident North
Korea would remain united and that the two neighbours would keep up
Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: ‘We were distressed to learn of the
unfortunate passing of the senior-most North Korean leader Kim Jong Il,
and we express our grief about this and extend our condolences to the
people of North Korea.’
Wailing: The death of Kim Jong Il had prompted an outpouring of grief seldom seen before
Praise: North Koreans cry and scream in a display of mourning at the foot of a giant statue of Kim Jong Il’s father Kim Il Sung, in the capital Pyongyang
Despair: Tears have flowed in North Korea following the death of the country’s leader
Respect: Students of Pyongyang Secondary School No 1 gather as they mourn over the death of Kim Jong Il
Devastated: Employees of Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory mourn Kim Jong Il’s death
Despair: North Koreans have been pictured doubling over on the ground with grief following the announcement
Why? Men and women have fallen on their knees to show their grief at the loss of the their leader
Respect: Hundreds of North Koreans gathered to mourn the death of their leader Kim Jong Il, in front of a giant statue of his father Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang
Desperate: Two women hold their heads and wail
as they pay their respects to a portrait of Kim Jong Il (left) as a
mother and son look emotional (right)
Ma praised Kim as a ‘great leader’
who made ‘important contributions’ to relations with China and added:
‘We are confident that the North Korean people will be able to turn
their anguish into strength and unify as one.
‘China and North Korea will strive
together to continue making positive contributions to consolidating and
developing the traditional friendship between our two parties,
governments and peoples, and to preserving the peace and stability of
the Korean peninsula and the region.’
And Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent also sent his condolences to the North Korean people, expressing his ‘sincere sorrow’ and ‘solidarity’ with the country. He said he was confident North Korea would move toward a prosperous and peaceful future and that Venezuela was willing to ‘continue fighting along with sovereign nations for the auto-determination of countries and world peace’.
The death came as a surprise for many North Koreans because Kim, who
reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008, had appeared relatively vigorous
in photos from recent visits to China and Russia. His funeral is planned
for December 28 in Pyongyang, with a mourning period to last until
Hong Son Ok shouted in an interview
with North Korea’s official television network: ‘How could the heavens
be so cruel? Please come back, general. We cannot believe you’re gone.’
An official statement said: ‘He passed away too suddenly to our profound regret.
The heart of Kim Jong Il stopped beating, but his noble and august name
and benevolent image will always be remembered by our army and people.’
is calling Kim Jong Il’s son a ‘great successor’ to the country’s
guiding principle of self reliance, as the country rallies around
heir-apparent Kim Jong Un as the next leader.
official Korean Central News Agency said the country ‘must faithfully
revere respectable comrade Kim Jong Un’, and urged its 24 million
citizens to rally behind him as it mourns.
Coverage: A man watches the reporting of the death of Kim Jong Il through the windows of an electronics store in Tokyo, Japan
Breaking news: A South Korean woman watches TV
news reporting the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at Seoul
rail station (left) as a Vietnamese man places a funeral wreath in front
of Pyongyang Restaurant in Hanoi (right)
The U.S. dollar jumped, in response
to his death, as uncertainty in North Korea increased the country’s
safe-haven appeal. Asian stock markets moved lower amid the news, which
raises the possibility of increased instability on the divided Korean
Kospi index was down 3.9 per cent at 1,767.89 and Japan’s Nikkei 225
index fell 0.8 per cent to 8,331.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 2 per
cent to 17,929.66 and the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2 per cent
markets also opened slightly down, with the FTSE down 0.2 per cent to
5,378.55; the CAC 40 down 0.13 per cent down to 2,969; and the DAX
slightly up 0.07 per cent at 5,706.
The news of Kim’s death came as North Korea prepared for a hereditary
succession. Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North
Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994.
September 2010, Kim Jong Il introduced his third son Kim Song Un as his successor, placing him in
high-ranking posts. Kim Jong Il had been groomed to lead the nation founded by his guerilla
fighter-turned-politician father and built according to the principle of
‘juche,’ or self-reliance.
Reaction: Elderly South Koreans chant anti-North
slogans in Seoul (left) as police officers stand guard at the General
Association of Korean residents in Tokyo, Japan
Surprise: South Korean soldiers watch a news broadcast reporting the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the Seoul train station
U.S. relations: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a surprise
visit to meet Kim Jong Il in 2009 to secure the release of two American
journalists (left). Kim also met Russia’s then President Vladimir Putin
in 2002 (right)
firm facts are available when it comes to North Korea, one of the most
isolated countries in the world, and little is clear about the origins
of the man known as the ‘Dear Leader.’
WHO’S TAKING OVER THE REGIME?
Kim Jong Un (pictured) the third son of Kim Jong Il, has been named as the ‘great successor’ by the ruling Workers’ Party.
first formal mention of the 28-year-old’s name in official state
communications came in October 2010, when he was promoted to the rank of
is said to have a fondness for James Bond and basketball star Michael
Jordan – and is believed to have been schooled in Switzerland. Sources
say he speaks some English, German and French.
Jong Il’s eldest son, Kim Jung Nam, was supposed to be his heir. But he
fell out of favour after he was caught trying to sneak a trip to Tokyo
Disneyland using a forged passport.
since said he opposes the ‘hereditary succession for three generations’
but said he would like his younger brother ‘to do his best for the
people of North Korea and their true wealth’.
have said Kim Jong Un is not ready to rule as he has only been groomed
for the job for three years. His father was groomed for 14 years before
taking control in 1994.
is likely that Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, will rule behind
the scenes as he trains on the job, the global intelligence firm
Korean legend has it he was born on Mount Paekdu, one of Korea’s
most cherished sites, in 1942, a birth heralded in the heavens by a pair
of rainbows and a brilliant new star. Soviet records, however, indicate he was born in Siberia, in 1941.
Il Sung, who for years fought for independence from Korea’s colonial
ruler, Japan, from a base in Russia, emerged as a communist leader after
returning to Korea in 1945 after Japan was defeated in World War II.
With the peninsula divided between the
Soviet-administered north and the U.S.-administered south, Kim rose to
power as North Korea’s first leader in 1948 while Syngman Rhee became
South Korea’s first president.
North invaded the South in 1950, sparking a war that would last three
years, kill millions of civilians and leave the peninsula divided by a
Demilitarized Zone that today remains one of the world’s most heavily
In the North, Kim
Il Sung meshed Stalinist ideology with a cult of personality that
encompassed him and his son. Their portraits hang in every building in
North Korea and on the lapels of every dutiful North Korean.
Kim Jong Il, a graduate of Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung University, was 33 when his father anointed him his eventual successor. Even
before he took over as leader, there were signs the younger Kim would
maintain – and perhaps exceed – his father’s hard-line stance.
Korea has accused Kim of masterminding a 1983 bombing that killed 17
South Korean officials visiting Burma, now known as Myanmar.
1987, the bombing of a Korean Air Flight killed all 115 people on
board; a North Korean agent who confessed to planting the device said
Kim ordered the downing of the plane himself.
Kim Jong Il took over after his
father died in 1994, eventually taking the posts of chairman of the
National Defence Commission, commander of the Korean People’s Army and
head of the ruling Worker’s Party while his father remained as North
Korea’s ‘eternal president.’
He faithfully carried out his father’s
policy of ‘military first,’ devoting much of the country’s scarce
resources to its troops – even as his people suffered from a prolonged
famine – and built the world’s fifth-largest military.
Kim also sought to build up the
country’s nuclear arms arsenal, which culminated in North Korea’s first
nuclear test explosion, an underground blast conducted in October 2006. Another test came in 2009.
Alarmed, regional leaders negotiated a
disarmament-for-aid pact that the North signed in 2007 and began
implementing later that year. However, the process continues to be
stalled, even as diplomats work to restart negotiations.
Korea, long hampered by sanctions and unable to feed its own people, is
desperate for aid. Flooding in the 1990s that destroyed the largely
mountainous country’s arable land left millions hungry. Following the famine, the number of
North Koreans fleeing the country through China rose dramatically, with
many telling tales of hunger, political persecution and rights abuses
that officials in Pyongyang emphatically denied. Kim
often blamed the U.S. for his country’s troubles and his regime
routinely derides Washington-allied South Korea as a ‘puppet’ of the
Family values: The 1981 family portrait (left) shows Kim Jong Il with son Kim Jong Nam, former wife’s sister Sung Hye Rang and her children Lee Nam Ok and Lee Il Nam, with the picture on the right portraying the leader in more recent times
Celebration: Kim Jong Il has cult-like status in North Korea, with many myths cultivated about his personality and history
Dictator: Kim Jong Il rose began his reign of
the Communist regime after the death of his father Kim Il Sung in 1994.
There were rumours about his health, but he appeared relatively vigorous
in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in
numerous trips around the country
U.S. President George W Bush, taking
office in 2002, denounced North Korea as a member of an ‘axis of evil’
that also included Iran and Iraq. He later described Kim as a ‘tyrant’
who starved his people so he could build nuclear weapons.
He said in 2005: ‘Look,
Kim Jong Il is a dangerous person. He’s a man who starves his people.
He’s got huge concentration camps. And… there is concern about his
capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon.’
TEAM AMERICA TRENDS ON TWITTER
Team America – the name of the 2004 animated film that lampooned Kim Jong Il – was trending on Twitter just minutes after the announcement of his death.
The movie, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, poked fun at the North Korean leader.
The film’s plot revolves around a crack team of paramilitary police trying to foil an evil plot conjured up by Kim Jong Il.
References to the cult film, in which Kim’s character sings a ballad
about the lonely life of a dictator, quickly spread through social
was an enigmatic leader. But defectors from North Korea describe him as
an eloquent and tireless orator, primarily to the military units that
form the base of his support.
world’s best glimpse of the man was in 2000, when the liberal South
Korean government’s conciliatory ‘sunshine’ policy toward the North
culminated in the first-ever summit between the two Koreas and followed
with unprecedented inter-Korean cooperation.
A second summit was held in 2007 with South Korea’s Roh Moo-hyun.But
the thaw in relations drew to a halt in early 2008 when conservative
President Lee Myung-bak took office in Seoul pledging to come down hard
on communist North Korea.
accounts that Kim was ‘peculiar,’ former U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright characterized Kim as intelligent and well-informed,
saying the two had wide-ranging discussions during her visits to
Pyongyang when Bill Clinton was U.S. president.
‘I found him very much on top of his brief,’ she said. Kim cut a distinctive, if oft ridiculed, figure. Short and pudgy at 5-foot-3, he wore platform shoes and sported a permed bouffant.
Kim was said to have cultivated wide interests, including professional basketball, cars and foreign films. He reportedly produced several North Korean films as well, mostly historical epics with an ideological tinge.
A South Korean film director claimed Kim even kidnapped him and his movie star wife in the late 1970s, spiriting them back to North Korea to make movies for him for a decade before they managed to escape from their North Korean agents during a trip to Austria.
Kim rarely travelled abroad and then only by train because of an alleged fear of flying, once heading all the way by luxury rail car to Moscow, indulging in his taste for fine food along the way. One account of Kim’s lavish lifestyle came from Konstantin Pulikovsky, a former Russian presidential envoy who wrote the book ‘The Orient Express’ about Kim’s train trip through Russia in July and August 2001.
Pulikovsky, who accompanied the North
Korean leader, said Kim’s 16-car private train was stocked with crates
of French wine. Live lobsters were delivered in advance to stations.
Family life: Kim Jong Il in two undated pictures with Kim Jong Suk and Kim Il Sung
Japanese cook later claimed he was Kim’s personal sushi chef for a
decade, writing that Kim had a wine cellar stocked with 10,000 bottles,
and that, in addition to sushi, Kim ate shark’s fin soup – a rare
delicacy – weekly.
banquets often started at midnight and lasted until morning. The longest
lasted for four days,’ the chef, who goes by the pseudonym Kenji
Fujimoto, was quoted as saying. Kim is believed to have curbed his
indulgent ways in recent years and looked slimmer in more recent video
footage aired by North Korea’s state-run broadcaster.
marital status wasn’t clear but he is believed to have married once and
had at least three other companions. He had at least three sons with
two women, as well as a daughter by a third.
eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, 38, is believed to have fallen out of favor
with his father after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake
passport in 2001 saying he wanted to visit Disney’s Tokyo resort. His
two other sons by another woman, Kim Jong Chul and Kim Jong Un, are in
their 20s. Their mother reportedly died several years ago.
‘DEAR LEADER’ KIM JONG IL’S TIME IN POWER
Leader: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (right) and South Korea’s President Roh Moo-hyun pose in this 2007 photo during a joint statement in Pyongyang
July 1994: Kim Il Sung dies of a heart attack aged 82, bringing to de-facto power his son Kim Jong Il, in the first communist dynastic succession.
October 1994: U.S. President Bill Clinton’s administration signs an agreement with North Korea to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for aid.
June 2000: South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il meet in Pyongyang and produce a pact to reduce tension and hold reunions of families separated by the Korean War.
March 2001: North Korea indefinitely postpones talks with the South after new U.S. President George W Bush places policy toward North Korea under review.
January 2002: In State of the Union address, Bush brands North Korea, Iran and Iraq an ‘axis of evil’. North Korea says the remarks are tantamount to a declaration of war.
December 2002: North Korea says it plans to restart Yongbyon reactor. By the end of the month, it has disabled the IAEA surveillance devices there and expels the agency’s inspectors.
January 2003: North Korea quits Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
September 2005: North reaches deal with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and United States on ‘abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes’ and returning to the NPT.
October 2006: North carries out first nuclear test.
February 2007: North Korea agrees to start shutting its reactor and allow U.N. nuclear inspectors back in exchange for aid.
August 2008: Kim is thought to have suffered a stroke that keeps him out of the public eye for months.
August 2008: Pyongyang says it will reverse disablement of Yongbyon facilities.
October 2008: U.S. says it will take North Korea off state sponsors of terrorism list, following verbal agreement on dismantlement. IAEA soon granted access to key Yongbyon plants.
April 2009: North Korea launches a multistage rocket. A week later, the U.N. security council condemns North Korea. Then another day later, North Korea says it will quit six-party nuclear talks and restart Yongbyon. It expels U.N. inspectors.
May 2009: North Korea says it has conducted a nuclear test.
March 2010: A South Korean navy corvette sinks, killing 46 sailors aboard. South Korea announces in May that an investigation showed the North had torpedoed the craft.
May 2010: Kim says he remains committed to the de-nuclearisation of the peninsula, during a visit to China.
August 2010: Kim visits China, meets President Hu Jintao in the northeastern city of Changchun.
September 2010: Kim anoints his youngest son Kim Jong Un as successor at a conference of the Workers’ Party.
October 2010: Kim Jong Un attends a military training drill.
May 2011: Kim Jong Il and China’s leaders vow that their alliance ‘sealed in blood’ will pass on to their successors.
August 2011: Kim, in China, says he is willing to return to nuclear talks. Days before, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed Pyongyang’s nuclear programme with Kim in Siberia.
September 2011: Kim and Kim Jong Un mark the 63rd anniversary of the state’s founding and review a military parade.
December 17, 2011: Kim dies and is succeeded two days later by his third son, Kim Jong Un, a ‘great successor’.
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Still think its a good idea to allow the wings of the airbus to be built in South Korea
Idiots like McCain who go on about heaven and hell and seem to be able to determine who’s going where are just as bad as the other religious nutcakes who try to spread their brand of religion through fear and intimidation.
To say with glee that he is in hell with those other tyrants is to suppose that better people are not in hell with them, well they are unless they are believing in the saviour, Jesus Christ.
Good communist is a dead communist !!!
Rest in Peace Kim , you stayed strong against the us
Amazed how the Western Society get so brainwashed by MSM propaganda.. Did anyone stop to think Kim Jong Ill was a Great Leader of his country.. People who knew him or had relations with him big or small all said he was a nice down to earth human..People are to easily brainwashed these days.. And the elite know it.
Pray or give good thoughts for the people of North Korea. I can’t imagine what they have endured. It is no life for a human being, dog, nor centipede. Ding dong the witch is dead.
Ah well, he’s death surprised us all. Anyway, yeah there seems no tears on the mourners’ faces or are they too afraid to express their feelings?
What’s wrong with this John McCain?? He wasn’t supposed to say that, at least think about the feelings of people in North Korea before saying the curse words. You’re not a Saint who’s going to live in heaven someday. No wonder you didn’t succeed in the election. Bah!!
Anyone else notice the absence of real tears in the photos of weeping North Koreans?
Those condemning him aren’t very Christian. Jesus taught us to love everyone regardless of their sins and crimes. This is a Christian country and people should behave accordingly and instead offer our sympathies for his family left behind.
– John, Peterborough, 19/12/2011 7:06__________________________This is not a Christian country. The UK’s main religion is Christianity, there is a big difference. Personally I’m glad he’s dead. It’s just a shame the kid who will replace him, will probably be no better than that evil pig was.
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