Kim Jong-il death: World reaction in quotes

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, say state media. Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died of a heart attack.

North Korea has few international allies and is regarded with deep suspicion by many western governments. Even nations with closer ties to Pyongyang are often bemused by the behaviour of the isolated communist state.

Here is a collection of comments from around the world in reaction to Kim Jong-il's death:

Spokesman for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak

President Lee urged the public to go about their usual economic activities without turbulence.

The two leaders (President Lee Myung-bak and President Barack Obama) agreed to closely co-operate and monitor the situation together.

Liu Weimin, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman

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. 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. We hope the two countries could carry on working together for peace in the Korean peninsula.

Yoshihiko Noda, Japanese Prime Minister

I have ordered officials to beef up intelligence-gathering on North Korea, to work closely with the United States, China and South Korea, and to prepare for further unexpected developments. We will gather information to assess how this incident will affect the situation. I have instructed (agencies) to prepare even for the unexpected to ensure this will not adversely influence peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

Jay Carney, White House spokesman

We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong-il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan.

We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

We have friendly relations with North Korea. We hope that this loss that the Korean people have suffered will not have a negative impact on the development of our relations.

Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian parliament

I was much saddened when I was informed of the passing of Mr Kim Jong-Il, great leader of the friendly nation, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.

On behalf of myself and my colleagues in parliament, I would like to express my sympathy to your government and nation and offer my condolences to you and his family.

Spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

The secretary general extends his sympathy to the people of the DPRK (North Korea) at this time of their national mourning. The secretary general reaffirms his commitment to peace and security on the Korean peninsula. The United Nations system will continue to help the people of the DPRK.

European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy

The European Union is monitoring the situation closely and we call on the future leadership of North Korea to exercise restraint and to commit to peace and security on the Korean peninsula.

German foreign ministry statement

This is of course a chance for things to change there but our expectations remain the same: that North Korea gives up its nuclear programme, that the catastrophic social situation of its own people improves and that it declares itself ready to open up in the political and economic spheres. Whoever takes over power must assume responsibility for improving the desperate situation of the people there. There is a clearly untenable situation with two Korean states.

Alain Juppe, French Foreign Minister

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. The death of a man is never something to be cheered, but it is the sad suffering of a people that is important. North Korea is a completely closed regime, one of the very last (Communist) regimes on the planet. There is a process of dialogue with North Korea that has highs and lows. This dialogue must continue, with China and the other participants, so that North Korea renounces its nuclear weapons.

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary

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. 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 de-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Kevin Rudd, Australian Foreign Minister

Two critical points need to be emphasised at this important time.

The first is that all governments, including the government of North Korea, should at this time be exercising maximum calm and restraint both in terms of what they do and in their diplomatic signalling. It is at times like this that we cannot afford to have any wrong or ambiguous signalling.

This time also presents an important opportunity to the new North Korean leadership to engage fully with the international community on how to improve their economy in order to properly feed their people and critically on how to deal with the outstanding problem of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The political succession in North Korea is uncertain. It will be difficult to read in the immediate days ahead precisely what will transpire in terms of the future of the North Korean leadership.

Burma government official

Burma will convey its condolences over the demise of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. We do not know much about his successor, his son. But we think things can change in his term, especially their economic policy. The misunderstanding with the international community over the relationship between Myanmar and North Korea lately has been removed.

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