As it happened: Kim Jong-il dies

Key points

  • North Korean state television announced that leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69.
  • He suffered a heart attack on board a train outside the capital, Pyongyang, on Saturday.
  • He had led the communist nation since the death of father Kim Il-sung in 1994, and is expected to be succeeded by his third son, Kim Jong-un.
  • North Korea announced a 13-day period of national mourning, from 17 to 29 December.
  • South Korea says its armed forces are on alert and the country is on a crisis footing. Japan has convened a special security meeting.
  • All times in GMT

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    Hello and welcome to the BBC's minute-by-minute coverage of events in North Korea, where the death of leader Kim Jong-il has been announced.


    An announcer on state television wept as she broke the news and people sobbed in the streets of the capital, Pyongyang.


    North Korea's news agency said Kim Jong-Il suffered a heart attack on board a train on Saturday; his age was given as 69. He had been unwell for some time.


    US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak have spoken by telephone and agreed on close national security co-ordination after the death of the North Korean leader, the White House says.


    The White House said in a statement: "The president reaffirmed the United States' strong commitment to the stability of the Korean peninsula and the security of our close ally, the Republic of Korea."


    China has also reacted to the death of the North Korean leader: "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," a foreign ministry spokesman is quoted as saying by the Xinhua state news agency.

    0709: Michael Bristow BBC News, Beijing

    says China is North Korea's main backer. It provides it with aid and diplomatic support. Mao Zedong once said these two communist neighbours were as close as lips and teeth. That has changed over recent years, as China has opened up to the outside world, and North Korea has stayed the same. China will want to know who is now taking over in Pyongyang - it will want that transition to be as smooth as possible.


    State-run North Korean news agency KCNA has called for loyalty from the North Korean people: "All the party members, servicepersons and people should remain loyal to the guidance of respected Kim Jong-un and firmly protect and further cement the single-minded unity of the party, the army and the people."


    Kim in South Pyongyang writes: "There are a lot of people looking to take advantage of this and it will be very dangerous for a while until everyone sees which way to lean."

    0728: Lucy Williamson BBC News, Seoul

    says Kim Jong-il's apparent heir, Kim Jong-un, has been groomed as his successor of the nuclear-armed state for little more than a year, and the question now is whether he has the power and authority to fill his father's shoes.

    Anon, in Pyongyang, North Korea, writes:

    "I'm in Pyongyang - silence was broken by what seemed to be gunfire near the Kumsusan Memorial Palace - this is very unusual. Some people are on standby to stay put because of elevated troop movement within Pyongyang. There are several extraordinary things happening in Pyongyang."


    South Korea's has put its armed forces are on high alert, and President Lee Myung-bak has convened a national security council meeting following the news of Kim Jong-il's death. President Lee has urged South Koreans to remain calm.

    Steve Herman, Voice of America in Seoul

    tweets: CCTV Beijing reports some stores in Pyongyang have closed after the KJI death announcement

    Philip J Crowley, former US State Department spokesman,

    tweets: If #NorthKorea were a normal country, the death of #KimJongIl might open the door to a #PyongyangSpring. But it is not a normal country. The transfer of power to #KimJongUn is underway in #NorthKorea. There may be some provocations for a while as he looks to prove himself.


    When he assumed power after the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, in 1994, very little was known about Kim Jong-il. He had seldom been seen in public; he was one of the world's most reclusive and enigmatic leaders.


    In Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has set up a crisis management team, while stock markets in Asia have fallen amid uncertainty about the future of North Korea. Read more on the international reaction here.


    North Korea will now see the "most volatile and precarious power succession of the 21st Century" after the death of Kim Jong-il, Professor Jasper Kim tells the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.


    UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says of the North Korean leader's death: "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 North Korea."


    More from William Hague: "We hope that 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 denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula."

    Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden

    tweets: The death of the dictator is always a period of uncertainty for a dictatorship. And North Korea is the hardest dictatorship in our time.


    Kim Jong-il's death will "have no negative impact on peace and security on the Korean peninsula", government spokesman Osamu Fujimura has told a news conference after the Japanese government held an internal security meeting on the issue, BBC Monitoring reports.

    Adrienne Mong, NBC News Beijing,

    tweets: S Korean media reporting no foreign delegates attending Kim Jong-il's funeral BUT Chinese President Hu Jintao will be going.


    South Korean MPs will hold emergency meetings in various parliamentary committees to discuss the death of Kim Jong-il, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.


    The leader of Russia's Communist Party, Gennadiy Zyuganov, has expressed his condolences to the North Korean people over the death of Kim Jong-il, the Russian news agency Interfax reports. Mr Zyuganov says the "brotherly Korean people" faces a difficult period and will need to "show self-restraint".


    North Korean state TV has within the last 10 minutes switched from broadcasting mournful music to showing archive footage of Kim Jong-il meeting his people and taking an interest in their work, BBC Monitoring reports.

    Daniel in Hwacheon, South Korea,

    writes: I live approximately 9km from North Korea. I think it's safe to say that feelings are very mixed, whilst some are happy he's gone, there seems to be a sense of nervousness about where this could lead and instability this could cause. I feel a little anxious myself. I think everybody here will be watching developments very closely over the coming days. Another evil tyrant has perished, but what will replace him? That's the question concerning most people here.


    Kim Jong-Il had been groomed for 20 years to lead the communist nation.


    North Koreans "never warmed up to" Kim Jong-il, former US assistant secretary of state Christopher Hill, who visited the country twice, tells the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. However, "logic is not the most operative element" of the people of North Korea, who have "established a very high threshold of pain".

    Ja in Fremont, US,

    writes: As a South Korean, I wonder if this is a good or bad news for us. Kim Jong-il has led us into many troubles, like the nuclear arms programme and the attack on Yeonpyeong Island. I just hope that Kim Jong-un will become a better leader and start working on all the problems surrounding North Korea, including the war, the nuclear programme and the state of poverty the North Korean citizens are in.

    Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times reporter,

    tweets: Pyongyang "quiet & calm" despite Kim's death; some locals seen gathering around portraits of leader; traffic flows as usual - Kyodo


    North Korean military and people have pledged to follow the leadership of Kim Jong-un to carry on the legacy of the communist state, reports say. "Ten million [North Korean] soldiers and the people are in indescribable grief, after receiving the sad news that comrade Kim Jong-il has died," the North's Korean Central News Agency KCNA says. "At this point, faithful belief, optimism and a determined pledge for victory are taking firm root in people's hearts."

    0900: The BBC's Charles Scanlon,

    who has visited North Korea, says the emotions seen from North Koreans now are very different to when Kim Jong-il's father, Kim Il-sung, died in 1994. Then there was genuine and spontaneous grief with thousands of people taking to the streets weeping, he says. The same sort of emotions are not there for Kim Jong-il, after the famine and hardships people have been through.

    Louisa Lim, NPR Beijing correspondent

    tweets: Contact in Pyongyang says news possibly delayed so everyone heard on Monday in respective work units "better ability to control message".

    0908: Former UK ambassador to South Korea Warwick Morris

    says North Korean internal politics have at times in the past resulted in sudden violent incidents towards the south for no obvious reason. Although by no means certain, a show of force from North Korea's new leadership cannot be ruled out in the coming months, he tells BBC World TV.


    The leaders of South Korea and Russia have agreed to co-operate closely for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, says the South Korean news agency, Yonhap. Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Dmitry Medvedev discussed the situation on the phone, a South Korean spokesman told Yonhap.

    Shoichiro Tomizawa in Tokyo, Japan,

    writes: Kim Jong-Un was not given enough time to prove the legitimacy of his succession. The army will not be happy to be directed by an inexperienced young man who is still a stranger to them. In the Oriental mind-set, seniors are to be respected, not to be directed by a green boy. The first months are very critical as Kim has to convince the military of his leadership.

    Employees of Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory mourn over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, as they gather in a conference hall in Pyongyang in this still image taken from video. Employees of Pyongyang 326 electric wire factory in Pyongyang are shown mourning over the death of Kim Jong-il on state television.

    A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Liu Weimin, said Mr Kim had done much to foster good relations with China: "Comrade Kim Jong-il was the great leader of the North Korean people and a close friend of the Chinese people. He made important contributions to the development of socialism in North Korea, and the development of friendly, neighbourly and co-operative relations between China and North Korea."


    A North Korean defector who fled the country by boat with his family five years ago tells the Los Angeles Times Kim Jong-il's death reminded him of the treachery of the North Korean regime: "I saw it as someone who should have passed long ago finally having passed," said the man - who wanted to remain anonymous because of the nature of his escape.

    Kyung Jeon, Minneapolis, USA,

    writes: I always hope Korea may reunite again, so that so many broken families might have a chance to meet again. I would like to be able to visit the home of my ancestors at some point in my life. But I am not optimistic. I would like to see the new leader of North Korea point the country in a new, positive direction, but from what I have heard, this may not likely be the case.

    Lucy Williamson, BBC Seoul correspondent

    tweets: Pictures just coming in from North Korea of people weeping openly at the news of Kim Jong Il's death. "How could he leave us like this?"


    Here we have more pictures of North Koreans reacting to the death of their leader.

    0949: Roland Buerk BBC News, Tokyo

    says this is a moment of great uncertainty in East Asia. Japan in particular is concerned about its close and unpredictable neighbour, North Korea, he says. There is fear that the death of Kim Jong-il could harm efforts to negotiate the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s to train as spies. Japan believes 17 were taken, 12 of whom remain unaccounted for. Their fate is an emotive political issue in Japan.

    Edward Wong, New York Times

    tweets: At North Korea embassy in Beijing, police have herded journalists into two "press pens." Lots of street sweepers.

    Kim Jong-un (left) with his father on 4 December 2011

    Very little is known about Kim Jong-il's younger son and successor, Kim Jong-un (pictured smiling on the left). This is one of the most recent photos of him, from the North Korean news agency, KCNA. It was taken on 4 December while he was inspecting a funfair with his father.

    John Delury, Professor at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

    tweets: Despite economic hardship, food shortages, and a welter of sanctions... the succession process is, by all appearances, taking place smoothly.


    France says it is monitoring the situation in North Korea following Kim Jong-il's death. "We are very watchful of the consequences of this succession, hoping that one day the people of North Korea will be able to find freedom," said the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, quoted on the AFP news agency.

    Melissa Chan, Al Jazeera English's correspondent in China

    tweets: There were no propaganda posters of Jong-Un in Pyongyang in October 2010 -- not like his father and grandfather. On Weibo, some Chinese noting wryly that Kim Jong Il, Qaddafi, and Saddam Hussein all died at age 69.


    South Korea's Yonhap news agency says the country's National Assembly will hold an emergency session on Kim Jong-il's death.


    The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed condolences to Kim Jong-un over the death of his father, says the Interfax news agency. The report prompted this tweet from Vladimir Varfolomeyev, a journalist from Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio station: "I wonder if anybody in the world, apart from Chavez, Jintao, Asad and Putin will send official condolences to the people of DPRK?"


    South Korean experts say a massive heart attack accompanied by arrhythmia was the likely cause of Kim Jong-il's death, reports the South Korean news agency, Yonhap. This is the same disorder which claimed the life of his father and predecessor, Kim Il-sung the agency says. It also reports that the heir to the North Korean leadership, Kim Jong-un, is suspected of having health problems similar to his predecessors despite only being in his 20s.

    Alex in China

    writes: People of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) finally get the chance to change their miserable life after a long period of poverty because of the autocratic rule of Kim Jong-il. I think Kim Jong-un is far more weaker than his father in spirit and reputation - he can't maintain the autocracy too long. So, congratulate people of DPRK.

    Chris Wiseley in Cheongju, South Korea

    writes: There is a general apprehension in my city. Although the news of Kim's death was at first positively received because it rekindled talk of reunification among many Koreans these feelings promptly gave way to worry that Kim's successor would mount an unannounced military strike on the south to demonstrate that under new leadership the north will retain its "military-first" policy. Young Koreans, whom I rarely see animated by politics, are talking to me about the day's events from every angle. Emotions are strong.


    North Koreas state-controlled news agency KCNA describes Kim Jong-un as "great successor", BBC Monitoring observes. "He is another great person produced by Korea who is identical to Kim Jong-il. No force on earth can block the revolutionary advance of our party, army and people wisely led by Kim Jong-un," says KCNA.

    Kim Won Kwon in Daejeon, South Korea

    writes: When Kim Il-sung passed away, majority of people in South Korea said that we'd be united and there would no longer exist the name of north and south to call us in an international community. However surprisingly nothing happened and rather it had found its own way to be kept in a silence.

    1058: Professor Liu Ming, a Korea expert from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

    tells the BBC's Chinese service that Beijing's response to Kim Jong-il's death will be cautious: "China needs to see how things unravel inside North Korea, especially the loyalty level of the party members and the army, and if they will really support Kim Jung-un as their leader. This will take at least a year or so, during which time people will find out if Kim Jung-un is qualified to rule the country."

    Adrian Hong, Director of the human rights organisation, Pegasus Project

    tweets: No amount of negotiations with #NorthKorea in any format will end with them giving up nukes. They saw what happened to Saddam & Gaddafi.

    1109: The BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts

    who reported inside North Korea last year, tells the BBC World Service that "you cannot over-estimate the deification of the Kim family". She adds: "Fortunately for Kim Jong-un he does resemble his grandfather, apparently helped somewhat by plastic surgery. You do hear people talk in Pyongyang about reincarnation. This could help towards a smooth transition."


    Some South Koreans have celebrated the news of Kim Jong-il's death and conservative groups in one part of Seoul held a rally to express their joy. "We welcome the news about the dictator who killed thousands of North Koreans and attacked South Korea causing the sinking of the Cheonan warship and attacking Yeonpyeong Island," said an organiser of the rally, Choo Sun-yup.


    Relatives of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s have told the Kyodo news agency of their fear that Kim Jong-il's death might delay efforts to find out what happened. The mother of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted in 1977, aged 13, said it was unclear whether the new leadership would "face up to the world and head towards resolving the abduction issue". Yasushi Chimura and his wife Fukie, two of only a handful of abductees yet repatriated to Japan, said they feared for "the safety of the abduction victims who have yet to be able to return to Japan".

    David Rothkopf, visiting scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    tweets: Reported death of Kim Jong-Il signals inevitable weakening of that regime...may be slow, but unification will be game changer in NE Asia. It's a mistake to see death of Kim as any kind of victory for US a la death of bin Laden or Qaddafi. Instead, it's actually a brand new test.


    Unconfirmed South Korean media reports suggest North Korea has test-fired a missile on its eastern coast, says the Reuters news agency. South Korea's Yonhap news agency quotes an unnamed South Korean official as saying he does not think the launch is related to the announcement of Kim Jong-il's death.


    To find out more about the international response to the death of Kim Jong-il see our World reaction in quotes page.

    Henry Foy, Reuters, Mumbai, India

    tweets: Surely the No. 1 thing Kim Jong Il's death -- two days ago -- tells us is that we have absolutely no clue what's going on in there. #Korea


    More on the reported missile test by North Korea. South Korean officials quoted by the Yonhap news agency said any firing would be part of a routine drill. Reuters news agency says the reported launch probably came in the morning, before the North's state media announced the death of Kim Jong-il from a heart attack.

    Val Hamer in South Korea

    tweets: "I live in South Korea. Military on high alert. Choppers everywhere. Strange tension in the air.#kimjongil #northkorea."

    1207: The BBC's Charles Scanlon

    who has visited North Korea and reported on the country for many years, says powerful figures in Kim Jong-il's inner circle have been assigned to help manage the smooth transfer of power to his son, Kim Jong-un. However, with the country still plagued by food shortages and economic collapse it is far from certain that they will succeed, he says.

    North Korean's mourning the death of Kim Jong-il

    Many residents of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, have been weeping about the death of Kim Jong-il. See more images from the city in our photo gallery: North Koreans mourn.

    1230: Lucy Williamson BBC News, Seoul

    says Kim Jong-il was presented to the North Korean people as a father figure so his death has caused widespread shock. She says governments around the world are watching for any sign of instability as the power transition takes place.


    Mark Edward Harris, a US photographer who has visited North Korea seven times, tells the BBC World Service: "I think what we're seeing in the news reports of people spontaneously crying in the street is genuine. All they've ever known is Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung so this is a nightmare for many people."

    1240: Kim Myong Chol, head of the Centre for Korean-American Peace in Tokyo

    who is closely aligned to Pyongyang, tells the BBC World Service that Kim Jong-il will be remembered as "a great leader who outfoxed America by building nuclear power and nuclear missiles". Mr Kim - who says he knew Kim Jong-il - was asked when North Korea would be able to feed its own people. "Next year, no problem," he answered.


    More on the tributes paid to Kim Jong-il by China, North Korea's main international backer. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Liu Weimin, said Mr Kim had done much to foster good relations with Beijing. "He made important contributions to the development of socialism in North Korea, and the development of friendly, neighbourly and co-operative relations between China and North Korea," said Mr Liu.

    1249: Professor Hazel Smith of Cranfield University in Britain

    is a regular visitor to North Korea. "There are still terrible food shortages and poverty everywhere, but there is now a market economy in North Korea; there are small street markets everywhere," she told the BBC World Service. "It's the middle of winter now, there's little food, little fuel, little heating. People's primary concern is to get enough food, so there's no possibility of lots of unrest on the streets right now."


    Kim Jong-un's rise to prominence as his father's successor in North Korea has come at the expense of his two older brothers who have been passed over for the succession. See our guide to North Korea's secretive 'first family'.

    1313: Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for the Japanese prime minister

    tells the BBC Japan will be following closely how the situation develops in North Korea. Whoever takes the leadership, he says, they will have to make sure they address Japan's concerns about North Korea's nuclear programme and the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s.

    1320: Charles Kartman, a former US special envoy

    is one of the few western diplomats to have met Kim Jong-il. He told the BBC World Service about talks he and the then US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, held with the North Korean leader in 2000: "We did not see him turn to anybody at any time and ask for advice and guidance; he absolutely knew what he was talking about; during the course of fairly detailed negotiations he was willing to make on-the-spot decisions about negotiating over missiles. It was rather impressive, in terms of his absolute power to make these decisions without reference to his military."

    1329: Adam Brookes BBC News, Washington

    says the chief preoccupation of the United States is with North Korea's nuclear programme. Washington does not want rivalries to erupt in the North Korean leadership which could result in dramatic and unexpected moves by Pyongyang.

    Jose in Chongqing, China

    writes: His death may end tyranny and perhaps lead to reforms and the country opening up economically, just like in China 30 plus years ago when Mao Zedong died. But Kim Jong-il will still be propagandised as a great hero in the nation's history.


    A key figure in the transition is expected to be Jang Song-thaek, the husband of Kim Jong-il's sister, says the BBC's Charles Scanlon. He was once purged for suspected corruption, but re-emerged in top positions just as Kim Jong-il began to think seriously about the succession. He is seen as a technocrat with a possible interest in economic reform - but it is unclear how much sway he holds with factions in the powerful military.

    Mike Chinoy, senior fellow at USC US-China Institute, USA

    tweets: Hope US and S Korea do express condolences over Kim death. SK refusal to do so after Kim Il Sung died in 94 poisoned North-South relations.


    Masaru Sato, from the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs, tells the BBC Radio 4's World at One programme Japan is preparing for all possible outcomes: "The government of Japan needs to prepare for any unexpected event, so although I cannot share with you the actual contents of the meeting which was held right after the announcement, we're closely monitoring the situation and formulating an appropriate response in close co-ordination with our partners, including the United States."


    This strangest of regimes has survived for 20 years after most forms of communism elsewhere either perished or morphed into something more sensible, so we had best not underestimate its staying power, writes Korean analyst Aidan Foster-Carter for the BBC.

    Kaarle Kulvik from London, UK

    writes: I visited North Korea during Kim Jong-il's 60th birthday, and the whole ordeal was shadowed by news of his critical condition. I have been following the country's development quite closely, and my view is that there is a high possibility of a real power struggle. The succession of Kim Jong-un will not be like that of the father, and the worst that can happen is that the hardliners within the Supreme People's Assembly will take over.


    More from Kaarle Kulvik: "However I do not believe this to the most likely scenario. I believe that China will play a great role in bringing stability to the region, and I once read that China was willing to put some 150,000 troops into the country if necessary. Despite the criticism of North Korea's harsh dictatorship and ultranationalism, I believe that many aspects of North Korean life have been underreported. There has been modest economic liberation in the country very much like that in the late 70s in China, and people inside the country are not as isolated as one might think."

    Noblesun from Yangon, Burma

    writes: Kim Jong-il left enormous challenges to both North Korea and the world. Even though his son is well educated, he is not even 30 years old. The priority for him will be how to manage his father's nuclear programme, and to guarantee the safety of his civilians, despite the current tensions with South Korea. Kim and his country have been isolated by the international community for so long - who knows whether North Korea's nuclear programme can be properly investigated? If it is not, we will remain in fear, which means that Kim is not yet dead. This is the hardest time for everyone.


    Republican US presidential candidates have hailed Kim Jong-il's death as the end of a "tyrant" whose passing gives North Korea a chance to embrace reforms: "Kim Jong-il was a ruthless tyrant who lived a life of luxury while the North Korean people starved," former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the on-again, off-again frontrunner for the party's nomination, said in a statement.


    Another Republican candidate, former US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, said in a statement as he campaigned in New Hampshire: "His death closes a tragic chapter for the people of North Korea and offers them the best opportunity to get on a path towards a more free and open society and political reform."

    Ishaan Tharoor, editor of Time Magazine's Global Spin blog

    tweets: NoKo has so little bearing on the real global economy - yet people turn to the markets as if they're barometers of something meaningful.


    EU President Herman van Rompuy has called on the new leadership of North Korea to preserve peace: "The EU is monitoring the situation closely and we count on the future Korean leadership to... commit to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."


    The BBC's John Sudworth, former Seoul correspondent who visited North Korea, writes: "Kim Jong-il became for many outside observers a figure of curiosity, intrigue, even fun, his bouffant hair-do, party jumpsuits and platform shoes, a communist tyrant from central casting."


    More from the BBC's John Sudworth: "For his fellow countrymen there was nothing funny about him at all. The fact that today's announcement came two full days after his death, kept from the prying eyes of numerous intelligence agencies, is itself perhaps an ominous signal that the secretive authoritarian status quo is likely to prevail."


    The director of Russia's Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Mikhail Titarenko, says of the impact of Kim Jong-il's death on North Korean-Russian relations: "North Korea, you may say, is concerned about becoming much too dependent on China. And as a counterbalance, they will be developing relations with Russia. The late Kim Jong-il was putting a lot of efforts into this," he told Reuters news agency.


    More from Mikhail Titarenko, who says of Kim Jong-il: "A dictator he was - he was a man who concentrated colossal power in his hands, no doubt about that. But he was not crazy, first of all. I would like to say that whatever you may think of him, he was an outstanding politician and an outstanding diplomat... He was a man with a wide range of interests, a man highly informed about everything that was happening in the world, a man ready for a dialogue with the USA."

    Elise Labott, CNN

    tweets: Does Kim Jong-un's western education = reform? Bashar al-Assad studied in UK and Saif Gaddafi studied in Vienna, London School of Economics.


    South Korea's main opposition Democratic Unity Party MPs have said Seoul should send a delegation to the North to mourn Kim Jong-il. Opposition MP Chung Dong-young says: "I think it would be appropriate to pay our condolences if North Korea accepts them," South Korean news agency Yonhap reports, according to BBC Monitoring.


    However, the South Korean opposition's proposal for an official condolence delegation is likely to be opposed by conservative groups: "Kim Jong-il's death does not deserve to be mourned because he left millions of North Koreans starving to death, while only focusing on maintaining his dictatorship and intensifying military power," the ultra-conservative Right Korea said in a statement.


    Floor leaders of South Korea's ruling Grand National Party and the main opposition Democratic Unity Party have agreed to hold special sessions of foreign affairs, trade and unification, national defence and intelligence with senior government officials, reports South Korean news agency Yonhap, according to BBC Monitoring. The special sessions are aimed at discussing emergency measures and ways to minimise the impact of Kim Jong-il's death on the Korean peninsula.

    Anup Kaphle, online editor for foreign & national security at the Washington Post

    tweets: Kim Jong-il made his last public appearance last week at NoKo's first supermarket, where he inspected a bottle of oil.

    Andrew Quinn, Reuters

    tweets: US official tells Rtrs that posture of US forces in S.Korea "unchanged" after Kim death. Really? US official tells Rtrs N.Korea missile test appears "unrelated" to Kim death (seems hard to believe but...)

    Mark MacKinnon, The Globe and Mail

    tweets: Too easy to make Team America jokes today. Kim Jong-il presided over a system of labour camps, starvation and torture:


    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered his "most sincere sympathies" over the death of Kim Jong-il, whom he called a "comrade". He also expressed "confidence in the ability of Koreans to conduct their own future to prosperity and peace", AFP news agency reports.


    Pyongyang has now imposed rigid social controls, including the complete closure of markets, South Korea's Daily NK reports, according to BBC Monitoring.


    More reaction from world leaders. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says: "We hope his (Mr Kim's) passing brings positive change allowing the people of North Korea to emerge from six decades of isolation, oppression and misery."


    tweets: After Kim Jong-il's death, what will happen to North Korea's nuclear arsenal?


    Many South Koreans are continuing to express concern about what is going to happen next after Mr Kim's death. A Seoul resident tells France's TF1 television: "I'm worried, there could be another war, or a small attack on the border. Everything seems normal here but people are worried."


    The Slate asks whether "the fact that Kim's death from an apparent heart attack was kept secret for two days suggests that the reclusive nation could have a leadership struggle on its hands".


    More pictures are coming from North Korea, where people are weeping and pounding the ground in a public display of grief:

    Pyongyang residents mourn the death of Kim Jong-il
    1640: John Sudworth BBC News, Seoul

    says that "North Korea's elite will have prepared for this eventuality (Mr Kim's death)." He adds: "Mr Kim had needed the support of the military, who now want to do their utmost to make sure the transition is smooth."


    tweets: True fact: Kim Jong Il had a three-story film archive of over 15,000 titles maintained by a staff of over 250.


    The BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts, who last year visited North Korea on an official trip to view celebrations marking the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il-sung, says: "The mythology that surrounds the Kim dynasty in the country is huge."


    Al Jazeera is running this piece about the Kim family's former personal chef, who provides fascinating details about the late leader's tastes and also tells what he expects from the chosen heir.

    Sophie Hsu from Shan Dong, China

    writes: "Kim's death will no doubt be a turning point for North Korea as the transition from father to son is incomplete, which may trigger a political earthquake in the country."


    Jim Hoare, a former British charge d'affaires in North Korea, tells the BBC's Radio 5live that Kim Jong-un is "going to be far less free to do as he wishes than his father was. He's going to be much more dependent on the support he gets from the military, from the party and the government. He's going to be much more one amongst equals, rather than the leader alone".


    US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls for a "prudent" approach to North Korea following the death of Mr Kim, a Pentagon spokesman is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.


    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the world body "will continue to help the people" of North Korea, reaffirming his "commitment to peace and security on the Korean peninsula".

    Sri Balanada, Bangalore, India

    writes: "The news of the demise of the leader of the DPRK comes as a neutral one to a citizen of India like me. But for the Korean peninsula it is a ray of hope for lasting peace. It is my ardent hope that the new communist regime under Kim Jong-un will use this opportunity to promote peace and democracy in the region. Also I wish that the body of the late Kim Jong-il will not be embalmed to build another memorial taxing the starving millions again."


    US negotiator Mike Magan, who's made a number of visits to North Korea, tells the BBC that much now will depend on the character of Kim Jong-un. He says: "North Koreans from birth are brought up in a cult that believes these people are living deities so he will have the people looking to him for... answers. But at the end of the day how much the military controls him, will a 26- or 28-year-old actually have the ability to steer a country towards any type of reform - it's way too early to tell".


    tweets: Genuine or forced, the footage of North Koreans weeping for Kim Jong Il is deeply unsettling.


    The BBC's Humphrey Hawksley, who has received a rare invite to North Korea, compares the period of mourning for the "Great Leader" Kim Il-sung in 1994 with this one for Kim Jong-il.

    Adam Borowik, Podlaski, Poland

    writes: "These mourning scenes are similar to those that took place after Stalin's death in the entire Eastern Block. People were forced to take part in assemblies in their work places. My grandmother had to go to one. I feel relief at knowing that Kim Jong-Il is dead. My only fear is for those people in the squares who are not weeping loudly enough, because that can attract the state authorities' attention. I really hope this is the begining of a thaw for North Korea."


    The UN General Assembly approves a resolution, which denounces widespread human rights violations in North Korea.


    North Korea's neighbours are still puzzled as to what to expect from the new regime in Pyongyang. Here, a customer in Tokyo's electronics shop looks on TV screens with reports of Mr Kim's death:

    A man in Tokyo looks at TV screens with reports of Mr Kim's death
    Nicholas Carlson, Deputy Editor at Business Insider

    tweets: Kim Jong-Il also wrote 6 operas that were "better than any in the history of music".


    Lord Alton, who chairs Britain's all-party group on North Korea, tells the BBC's Radio 4 that the outpouring of grief being shown by many North Koreans is probably more to do with fear than sadness. "You have to see it in the context of the million men under arms - it's the fourth largest standing army in the world. (There are) 300,000 people, according to the UN, who are in Stalinist-style gulags in North Korea, two million who died in the famine in the 1990s - so beyond the fakery, I think, (it) is genuine fear".


    The Washington Post says that "one easy way to evaluate the legacies of North Korean dictators Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il is to compare their country's economic performance with South Korea's over the past four decades". The paper says that the difference is "stunning" in this piece.


    US Senator John McCain clearly does not mourn for Kim, going by this statement from the Arizona Republican: "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." He added that "determined and creative leadership" was needed to ensure security for the Korean peninsula.


    Slate Magazine has published a satellite photo that appears to show the stark difference in electricity-use between North and South: the North covered in darkness; the South brightly lit.

    1858: Breaking News

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - meeting her Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba, in Washington - says both countries share an interest in a peaceful, stable transition in North Korea, and expresses hope for better relations with the North Korean people.


    Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba says it's important to ensure Kim's death doesn't destabilise the Korean Peninsula. He said Tokyo and Washington would closely co-ordinate to monitor the situation. He also said "concrete action" must be taken by North Korea on the issue of nuclearisation.

    Katty Kay, BBC News Washington

    tweets: Pix out of North Korea fascinating, funny and creepy at the same time. What are they thinking?

    Joan Wheeler, Ottawa, Canada

    writes: He is portrayed in the 'west' as a despot and tyrant. Watching the N. Koreans reacting to his death with overwhelming sorrow, it is impossible to know what to think! Few react to the death of their most loved ones with such demonstrations of public grief.


    tweets: #NorthKorea: Can a power struggle be ruled out? Speculations that 'Great successor' is too inexperienced


    And on yet another tumultuous day from the year that brought you the Arab Spring, the Japan tsunami and the killings of Bin Laden and Gaddafi, we end our live coverage of Kim Jong-il's death. Thanks for joining us - you can follow the story on our home page.


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